Iran has agreed to massively increase its monthly payments to Palestinian terror group Hamas in exchange for intelligence on Israeli missile capabilities, an Israeli television network reported Monday.
The Islamic Republic is a longtime financial supporter of Hamas, the terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip and is committed to Israel’s destruction.
In a recent meeting in Tehran between nine senior Hamas officials and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran expressed willingness to raise its monthly financial backing to the terror group to an unprecedented $30 million per month, Channel 12 reported, citing an unnamed Arab source.
That will represent a massive increase in Iranian support for the Gaza rulers. A report by the Ynet news site from August 2018, citing Palestinian sources, said Iran’s payments to Hamas at the time amounted to $70 million per year (less than $6 million per month).
The meeting, which took place two weeks ago, was attended by Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy chief of the Hamas politburo.
In exchange for the funding, Tehran asked Hamas to provide intelligence about the location of Israel’s missile stockpiles, the report said. It was not immediately clear if the raise was strictly conditioned on the intelligence provided by the terror group.
The Hamas members said they would convey the request to the movement’s leaders in Gaza.
Hamas also reportedly asked Iran to act as mediator for the terror group with Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, after ties were cut off during the Syrian civil war.
Responding to the report, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon noted that “despite lacking food or medicine, Iran/Hamas evidently have plenty of money for terror.”
Hamas officials just left Tehran with reportedly an increase to $30 million/month in support. Despite lacking food or medicine, Iran/Hamas evidently have plenty of money for terror. Israel is determined to act against all branches of Iran's terror operations. pic.twitter.com/myZouPMKvT
— Ambassador Danny Danon | דני דנון (@dannydanon) August 5, 2019
During his visit to Tehran, al-Arouri said that Hamas and Iran stand on “the same path” in fighting Israel, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported at the time.
“We are on the same path as the Islamic Republic — the path of battling the Zionist entity and the arrogant ones,” he said, according to the report.
Arouri visited Iran with several other high-ranking Hamas officials, including Moussa Abu Marzouk, Maher Salah, Husam Badran, Osama Hamdan, Ezzat al-Rishq and Ismail Radwan.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh told a group of Turkish journalists at the time that he hoped the delegation’s visit would achieve “important results.”
رئيس المجلس السياسي للعلاقات الاستراتيجية في إيران كمال خرازي خلال استقباله نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي لحماس صالح العاروري: استمرار المقاومة هي الضمانة لتحقيق النصر على كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني pic.twitter.com/6lmFDw3naF
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) July 21, 2019
Arouri, who was elected as Hamas’s deputy chief in October 2017, has traveled to Iran at least five times over the past two years. He has frequently heaped praised on Iran.
“Iran is the only country that says that entity [Israel] is cancerous and should be uprooted from the region,” he told the pro-Hamas Al-Quds TV in February 2018. “It is the only country that is prepared to provide real and public support to the Palestinian resistance and others to confront the entity.”
A report last week by the Haaretz daily said that Israeli intelligence officials believe Hamas and Iran have come to an agreement for the terror group to open a war front against Israel from the southern coastal Strip in the event of conflict breaking out with Iran’s allies on the Jewish state’s northern border.
The report quoted a senior security official as saying the intelligence establishment estimates Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group will try to force Israel to move forces and air defense systems to the south at the expense of troops fighting in the north.
The report said that Israeli intelligence sources believe Iran has increased its involvement in the Strip in order to turn Hamas into its operational arm against Israel.
The Islamic Republic also funds the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group, which is similarly sworn to Israel’s annihilation.