Iran has resumed its financial backing of Hamas and its government in Gaza, a pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily reported on Monday.
According to As-Safir, a series of meetings have taken place in Iran and Lebanon over the past two weeks between Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian leadership to discuss developments in Egypt and the Palestinian territories following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government in early July.
Iranian officials have been holding regular meetings with Hamas, the report said, noting that the Islamic extremist group that rules Gaza plays a crucial role in coordinating between Islamist movements in the Arab world and the regime in Tehran.
Last week, Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar declared that his movement had formed a joint command with Islamic Jihad, a more radical Islamist movement in Gaza and a close ally of the Iranian regime.
Hamas’s relations with Iran soured last year following its decision to leave its headquarters in Damascus in early 2012. Hamas was protesting the Assad regime’s violent crackdown against a mostly-Sunni protest movement since March 2011. Iran, Assad’s close ally, considered the move an act of treason on the part of Hamas, which had received ongoing financial and logistical backing from the Islamic Republic.
But Hamas’s subsequent reliance on a new Egyptian ally in the form of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi collapsed early last month with Morsi’s ouster in a military coup that emerged from widespread popular protests. Since the coup, Hamas has primarily been engaged in rebuffing Egyptian accusations that it is involved in terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, where smuggling tunnels provided for a large portion of Gaza’s commodities.
On Monday, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported that Egyptian security had stopped coordinating with Hamas, insisting on speaking solely to the “official Palestinian authority,” a reference to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
“Coordination with Hamas is out of the question at the moment, especially given the attacks on [Egyptian] police and army posts, and the plan to occupy Sinai in a bid to expand Hamas’s foothold for the benefit of others,” Al-Akhbar’s unnamed security sources said.
Egypt’s near-complete closure of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for the second consecutive week prompted Hamas political bureau official Izzat Al-Rishq to warn of a looming humanitarian crisis on Monday which “only serves the agenda of the Zionist enemy.”