Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh Monday evening and affirmed Tehran’s support for the Palestinian “resistance,” the terror group based in the Gaza Strip said in a report on its official website.
Iran provides significant backing to both Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and that of the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Al-Quds Brigades.
“The minister…said that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands with the Palestinian people and its valiant resistance in Gaza,” the report on Hamas’s website said, employing a term that usually refers to terror groups in the coastal enclave.
Senior Hamas members have frequently heaped praise on Iran for its support of its military wing and often visit Tehran to meet top Iranian security and political officials.
“Iran is the only country that says that the entity [Israel] is carcinogenic and should be uprooted from the region,” Hamas deputy chief Salah al-Arouri 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.”
The Iranian state-run IRNA news agency also reported that Zarif and Haniyeh spoke on the phone.
The top Iranian diplomat congratulated Haniyeh on “the victory the resistance achieved against the occupation in the latest round of fighting with it,” the report on Hamas’s website said.
Israel and terror groups in Gaza engaged in some two days of fighting last week after the Jewish state eliminated Baha Abu al-Ata, a top commander in the Islamic Jihad terror group.
During the escalation in tensions, terror groups, namely the Al-Quds Brigades, fired 450 or so rockets and mortars at Israel, which responded with many retaliatory strikes in Gaza.
Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades, unlike in previous rounds of fighting, was widely believed to have not taken part in the escalation.
Three Israelis were wounded by rocket fire during the fighting and dozens were injured when they fell while running to bomb shelters.
Thirty-four Palestinians in Gaza were killed in the escalation and 109 were injured, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. At least 19 of them were members of terror groups and several were civilians, including eight minors.
Haniyeh also expressed his appreciation to Zarif for Iran’s “supportive position of the Palestinian people and its resistance,” the report said.
Israel and several Arab countries consider Iran to be a top regional foe and have expressed opposition to its funding of armed groups in the Middle East.