500 Hamas, PIJ terrorists trained for October 7 attack in Iran last month – report

WSJ claim comes hours after IDF spokesman directly accuses Tehran of providing Gaza-ruling terror group ‘with training, supplying weapons, money and technological know-how’

Illustrative: This handout photo provided by the IRGC official website shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers taking part in a military drill near the island of Abu Musa, off the coast of the southern Iranian city of Bandar Lengeh. (SEPAH NEWS / AFP)
Illustrative: This handout photo provided by the IRGC official website shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers taking part in a military drill near the island of Abu Musa, off the coast of the southern Iranian city of Bandar Lengeh. (SEPAH NEWS / AFP)

Hundreds of Palestinian terrorists underwent “specialized combat training” in Iran weeks before the group’s murderous onslaught against Israel, according to a Wednesday report in The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper, citing “people familiar with intelligence” surrounding the brutal Hamas massacre on October 7 — in which 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians, were murdered — reported that 500 members of both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic took part in training last month led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of being a key force behind the coordinated Hamas attack on Israel, in which it succeeded in disabling the high-tech Gaza border fence and streaming across the border to carry out its devastating assault on nearby communities, which included taking at least 224 people hostage.

Iran has welcomed the Hamas assault, but denies it played a role in its planning. According to the WSJ report, Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the head of Quds Force, attended the training activities led by the IRGC.

Hours before the report was published, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari pointed a finger directly at Iran for helping to plan the brutal attack.

Hagari said at a press conference Wednesday that Iran had directly aided Hamas “before the war, with training, supplying weapons, money and technological know-how.” Even now, he added, “Iranian aid to Hamas continues in the form of intelligence and online incitement against the State of Israel.”

Gazans celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the broken Israel-Gaza border fence, east of Khan Younis, October 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

Meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed comments he has made to other visiting world leaders — that Israel is facing an “axis of evil, led by Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis, their minions who are fighting to bring back the Middle East, the world, to the early Middle Ages.”

The WSJ has also reported that Iranian security officials “gave the green light” for the assault at a meeting in Beirut five days before October 7, citing senior members of Hamas and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

But US officials pushed back against that report, saying its intelligence did not show a direct link between Iranian officials and the attack, while noting that Tehran is a longtime backer of Hamas.

In comments to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it “is no secret” that “for years, Iran has supported Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and other groups that continue to carry out attacks on Israel.”

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, October 24, 2023. (Seth Wenig/AP)

In response, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations Amir Saeid Iravani lashed out at Blinken for what he called his attempt to “wrongly place the blame on Iran.”

“Iran categorically rejects these groundless allegations,” Iravani said.

A week earlier, Blinken said that the US does not have “direct evidence that Iran was involved in the attack, either in planning it or carrying it out. But that could change.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday accused the United States of “directing” strikes that Israel has been carrying out on Hamas, calling the US “a definite accomplice of criminals” during a speech in Tehran.

“The United States is in some way directing the crime that is being committed in Gaza,” he said, suggesting the hands of Americans “were tainted with the blood of the oppressed, children, patients, women and others.”

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei listens to a speaker in a meeting in Tehran, Oct. 17, 2023. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

On Sunday, Tehran threatened Israel that the region could spiral “out of control” if the war in Gaza continues.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that he warned “the US and its proxy [Israel]… that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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