By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute—
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are embarrassed: Iran just admitted that both of those terrorist groups serve as mercenaries for the mullahs in Tehran.
For Hamas and PIJ, the admission is yet another sign that the truth can be painful and inconvenient, especially when it comes from a major ally such as Iran.
Recently, Maj. Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid, Commander of Iran’s Khatam al-Anbiya Central Headquarters, stated that his country has armies that operate outside of Iran.
Rashid was referring to Iranian-backed groups such as Hamas, PIJ, Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, the Syrian army and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and other militias in Iraq and Syria. These groups, he said, “have ideological tendencies” with the mission to defend Iran.
Rashid pointed out that the former commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, said three months before his death that he had “organized six armies outside the territory of Iran.”
Soleimani, who was assassinated on January 3, 2020, in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport, had been in charge of Iran’s extraterritorial and clandestine military operations.
After his assassination, Hamas and PIJ revealed that Soleimani had been responsible for providing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with many types of weapons to assist them in their war against Israel.
Hamas official Osama Hamdan, for instance, was quoted earlier this year as saying that his group had “deep relations” with Soleimani, who sent Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles to the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar reported in December 2020 that during their first meeting in 2006, Soleimani gave him suitcases filled with $22 million in cash. Continue Reading…