Who you gonna believe: Hamas or U.S. intelligence? Context for Oct. 7 attack comes into focus

by WorldTribune Staff, October 26, 2023

Weeks before the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, some 500 jihadists from Hamas and allied Palestinian Islamic Jihad received specialized combat training in Iran, a report said.

The September training exercises which Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists took part in were led by officers of Iran’s Quds Force, the foreign-operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 25, citing people familiar with intelligence related to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

An image released last year that appeared on social media showed fighters, including from Hamas, training at an undisclosed location. / Reuters

Senior Palestinian officials and Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the head of Quds Force, also attended the combat training, the report said.

The Biden Administration, however, continues to insist that its intelligence agencies have no information to suggest Iran either green-lighted or conducted training specifically to prepare for the events of Oct. 7.

“The information that we have does not show a direct connection to the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 as it relates to Iran. Again, that’s something that we’ll continue to look closely at,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said last week.

More than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists who poured across Israel’s border from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7. Hundreds of others were kidnapped and taken back to Gaza, where they are being held hostage.

Hamas, which is largely funded by Iran, used high-tech surveillance equipment to plan the attacks. The terrorists also used aerial drones to disable Israeli observation posts. Some used paragliders to fly into Israel. Others rode on motorcycles, commonly used by Iranian paramilitary groups but not by Hamas until the Oct. 7 attacks, regional analysts said.

“Before the war, Iran directly assisted Hamas with money, training and weapons and technological know-how,” said Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman. “Even now, Iran is helping Hamas with intelligence.”

The Wall Street Journal, citing senior Hamas and Hizbullah officials, reported that the Quds Force helped plan the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and gave the go-ahead for the attack during a meeting in Beirut on Oct. 2 with leaders of Hamas and Hizbullah. An adviser to the Syrian government and a European official gave the same account of Iran’s involvement.

Iran has long provided training to terrorists across the Middle East, including Gaza militants, Afghan mercenaries who fight in Syria, Hizbullah fighters from Lebanon, Shiite forces from Iraq, and the Houthis from Yemen, said Saeid Golkar, an IRGC expert at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“This sort of operation is very difficult to do without Hezbollah and IRGC support. Hamas does not have the capability to do that,” Golkar said.

Two recent Geostrategy-Direct.com reports shed light on how Iran received key assistance in its Gaza strategy from the Biden team and how the top policy levels of the Biden administration had been penetrated by an Iranian spy ring.

Hamas officials have boasted of Iran’s support since the attacks: “Hizbullah and Iran supported us with weapons, expertise, and technology,” Khaled Meshaal, a senior Hamas official now based in Qatar, said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

As the attacks started on Oct. 7, according to Western and Egyptian officials, Hamas contacted IRGC and Hizbullah officials abroad to inform them that the assault had started.

Since then, the IRGC, Hizbullah, Hamas and other militias in the region say they have been in close contact to coordinate their activities. Quds Force commander Qaani was in recent days in Lebanon to consult with Hamas and Hizbullah officials, militant leaders and an IRGC adviser said.

The IRGC reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It operates independently of Iran’s elected government and its conventional military, with its own navy and business operations.

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