Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said that a senior Iranian military commander pledged all of the Islamic Republic’s military resources to help the Gaza-based terror group fight Israel over Jerusalem.
“All our of capabilities and potential are at your disposal in the battle for the defense of Jerusalem,” Sinwar said Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, told him over the phone.
The statements by Sinwar regarding Soleimani were broadcast Monday by the pro-Iranian Lebanese news outlet al-Mayadeen, and seemed to be from a speech he gave on Thursday in Gaza to young men and social media activists.
According to Sinwar, Soleimani asserted that “Iran, the Revolutionary Guards and Quds Force stand with all they have with our people in order to defend Jerusalem so that Jerusalem will endure as the capital of the state of Palestine.”
Sinwar, who said he met with the Iranian military commander in Tehran in 2012, added that Soleimani was in touch with the leadership of the military branches of both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In a move that delighted much of Israel’s leadership but ignited protests across the Muslim world, US President Donald Trump announced on December 6 that the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and planned to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.
Hamas, which seeks the destruction of Israel, has fought three wars with the Jewish state since seizing power from Fatah in the Gaza Strip in 2007.
The terror group has been urging a new intifada, or uprising, since Trump’s declaration, and has encouraged thousands of Gazans to confront Israeli troops at the Gaza border fence, where there have been several fatalities in clashes in recent weeks.
In recent months, Hamas has publicly flaunted its burgeoning ties with Iran, and the Islamic Republic has in turn sworn to increase its military backing for the Gaza-based terror group.
Sinwar has said that Iran has become the key military sponsor for the Gaza-based terror group, though he has not explained in what capacity Tehran provides support.
In November, a high-profile Hamas delegation visited Iran in order to attend the funeral service for Soleimani’s father. The delegation included deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri and a second official, Ezzat al-Rishq.