TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Monday rejected as unfounded allegations it had a role in the massive assault on Israel by the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas.
“The accusations linked to an Iranian role… are based on political reasons,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters.
The Islamic Republic, he said, does not intervene “in the decision-making of other countries, including Palestine.”
Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka echoed the point, asserting that Iran was not given a heads up before the Friday morning attack was launched.
“It was a surprise to everyone, including Iran,” Baraka told NBC News in an interview.
“We did not inform them that there was an operation that would happen at dawn on Oct. 7, he added. “After the operation began, we informed Iran.”
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Iran helped plan the attack but officials from various countries involved have since refuted the claim.
Hundreds of Palestinian terrorists from the Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, infiltrated Israel at dawn on Saturday under the cover of a massive rocket barrage. Gunmen roamed through communities and areas in southern Israel, killing at least 700 people and kidnapping over 100 others who were taken to Gaza as captives. Over 2,000 people in Israel were injured.
Israel has responded with airstrikes across Gaza targeting terrorist infrastructure.
The Palestinians put their death toll at 430.
Iran, which does not recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was one of the first countries to hail the Hamas assault.
The Palestinians had “the necessary capacity and will to defend their nation and recover their rights” without any help from Tehran, Kanani said.
“Talking about an Iranian role aims at turning public opinion (away from the facts) and at justifying the potential future actions” of Israel, the spokesman added.
Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations also denied allegations the Islamic Republic had any role in the Hamas attack, in a statement issued overnight.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday,” citing senior members of Hamas and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.
On Sunday, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran supported the Palestinians’ right to self-defense and warned Israel must be held accountable for endangering the region.
Raisi — who has spoken with the leaders of Hamas and the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad group since the Hamas attack — also urged Muslim governments to “support the Palestinian nation.”
A US official said Sunday it was too soon to say if Iran was “directly” involved in the Hamas attack, adding however that there was little doubt that Hamas was “financed, equipped and armed” by countries including Iran.
On Monday, the IDF also said there was no evidence yet of Iran’s role.
“Iran is a major player but we can’t yet say if it was involved in the planning or training,” said IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.