Hamas Says Iran Supported Surprise Attack Against Israel

Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad said that the terror group “had direct backing for the attack from Iran.”
October 8, 2023
Burak Kara/Getty Images; Majid/Getty Images

A spokesman for Hamas reportedly told the BBC that their surprise attack against Israel on Saturday received support from Iran.

In the BBC’s words, Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad told the outlet that the terror group “had direct backing for the attack from Iran.” The attack involved Hamas firing more than 3,000 rockets into Israel and armed terrorists infiltrating the country, going door-to-door and murdering and kidnapping Israelis in their communities and towns; more than 700 people were killed in the attack and more than 100 have been abducted.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday: “God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region.” The post also featured a video that, according to The Wrap, shows “panicked young people who were at a music festival when they were attacked by Hamas.”

Khamenei’s post sparked questions as to why the post––and Khamenei himself––are allowed on X; the post currently has a disclaimer that the violated the platform’s rules but is being left up because X deemed it to be in “the public’s interest.”

Khamenei’s top military adviser Rahim Safavi called the Hamas surprise attack “commendable,” according to Politico. There is also video footage on social media of members of the Iranian parliament chanting “Death to Israel” and “Palestine is victorious, Israel will be destroyed.”

Iranian-American journalist Lisa Daftari argued in a post on X that a post from Khamanei just a few days earlier shows that the Hamas surprise attack was “planned & executed”; the Khamenei post from October 3 read: “The usurper regime is coming to an end. Today, the Palestinian youth and the anti-oppression, anti-occupation movement in Palestine is more energetic, more alive, and more prepared than even during the past 70 or 80 years. God willing, the movement will achieve its goals.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) wrote in a Saturday Flash Brief that “Iran has built a network of at least 19 armed groups on Israel’s borders, including in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria,” which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah and Lebanon. Hamas receives $100 million a year from Iran, per FDD. The FDD report also noted that “Khamenei has hosted numerous meetings with Tehran’s proxy organizations and called for united action against Israel over the past month.” The FDD report argued that the Biden administration’s policies have emboldened Iran, noting that “the administration has weakened U.S. enforcement of oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic” and that over the summer, the administration has allowed $16 billion in sanctions relief to be transferred to Iran, including $6 billion frozen in South Korean banks in exchange for American hostages.

“While Biden administration officials claim the funds can be used only for humanitarian purposes, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said that Tehran will spend the money however it wants,” the FDD report stated. “Regardless, money is fungible, so the cash Iran receives frees up other budgetary resources to sponsor terrorism.”

In response to the Hamas attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to “cripple [Hamas] mercilessly and avenge this black day they have brought upon Israel and its citizens,” per The Times of Israel. “What happened today has never before seen in Israel, and I will make sure it does not happen again,” Netanyahu said in a televised address to the nation on Saturday. Israel has claimed to have killed more than 400 Palestinian terrorists since the attack.

UPDATE 1: The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Hamas and Hezbollah leaders have claimed that Iran had been working with Hamas since August on the surprise attack against Israel and that Iran approved the attack in a meeting in Beirut on October 2. The Wall Street Journal report also states that a European official who works as an adviser to the Syrian government made the same claims. However, U.S. officials said they could not confirm the claims regarding Iran’s involvement.

UPDATE 2: A Hamas official has since told NBC News that they kept Iran in the dark on the terror invasion until after the attack began. Iran has denied being involved in the attack, per The Times of Israel.

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