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  4. Did Iran and Hezbollah have role in Israel's incursion and who supplied rockets to Hamas? Details inside

Did Iran and Hezbollah have role in Israel's incursion and who supplied rockets to Hamas? Details inside

According to a top Hamas official, the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and added Iran was not aware of the wide-range incursion planning. However, the official said Tehran “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation".

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Beirut Updated on: October 10, 2023 13:13 IST
Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership.
Image Source : AP Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership.

A senior Hamas official has rejected the media reports which claim Iran's involvement in the latest incursion against Israel and said "Only a small number of top commanders inside Gaza knew about the wide-ranging planning. However, Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, underscored that allies like Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”

It is worth mentioning Hamas- a militant group- launched a sudden attack on Israel in the wee hours of October 7. The barrage of rockets fired by Hamas also prompted authorities to ponder the capabilities of its "robust" intelligence system.

Iranian security officials helped plan the attack?

Speaking to news agency, the Associated Press on Monday, Barakeh said the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even the group’s closest allies were not informed in advance about the timing. He denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or gave the go-ahead at a meeting last week in Beirut.

“Only a handful of Hamas commanders knew about the zero hour,” Barakeh said, adding that no one from the central command or the political bureau of Hamas was in the Lebanese capital last week.

According to the Hamas official, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group have helped Hamas in the past, but added since the 2014 Gaza war Hamas has been producing its own rockets and training its own fighters.

Does US has evidence of Iran's involvement? 

When asked whether the US has seen evidence of Iranian involvement, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby at the White House noted “there’s a degree of complicity“ from Iran due to its years of support for Hamas, however, the US hasn’t ”seen hard, tangible, evidence that Iran was directly involved in participating in or resourcing, planning these sets of complex attacks that Hamas pulled off over the weekend.”

Barakeh also denied speculation that the attack, which had been planned for more than a year, was aimed at derailing US efforts to convince Saudi Arabia to normalize ties with Israel.

Instead, he said it was driven by a range of actions taken by Israel’s far-right government over the past year, including provocative visits to a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site and increased pressure on Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. He also said Hamas believed Israel had plans to kill its top leaders.

He said even Hamas was shocked by the extent of the operation, dubbed “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm,” saying it had expected Israel to prevent or limit the attack. “We were surprised by this great collapse,” Barakeh said. “We were planning to make some gains and take prisoners to exchange them. This army was a paper tiger.” His claim that Hamas has only planned a small operation is belied by the fact that an estimated 1,000 fighters took part in the incursion, attacking by land, sea and even motorized paragliders.

Also Read: 'Israel will exact a price that will be remembered for decades', Netanyahu as he equates Hamas with ISIS

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