Iran: Oct. 7 attack was revenge for killing of Soleimani in 2020; Hamas: No it wasn’t

IRGC also says it is ‘very aware’ why Israel allegedly assassinated another top general in Damascus; Gaza’s terrorist rulers insist vicious massacres were ‘Palestinian resistance’

Iranians lift national flags during a ceremony in the capital Tehran, on January 3, 2022, commemorating the second anniversary of the killing in Iraq of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani (portrait) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US raid. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iranians lift national flags during a ceremony in the capital Tehran, on January 3, 2022, commemorating the second anniversary of the killing in Iraq of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani (portrait) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US raid. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Wednesday that the Hamas terror group’s devastating attack on Israel was in revenge for the 2020 assassination of IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif tied the October 7 massacres to Soleimani in remarks he made about the killing of another top officer earlier this week in an airstrike Iran has blamed on Israel. Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi, who was close to Soleimani, was killed in a strike on his home in Damascus on Monday.

Mousavi was responsible for coordinating the military alliance between Iran and Syria and was believed by Israel to have been heavily involved in Tehran’s efforts to supply weapons to terror proxies in the area, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.

Sharif said Hamas’s October attack was “one of the revenges” for the slaying of Soleimani.

He also said the IRGC is “well aware” of the reasons Israel killed Mousavi in Damascus but asserted that the assassination would not hinder its campaign “against the Zionist entity.”

“We will respond accordingly, directly or indirectly through the resistance axis,” he threatened.

The IRGC further called the assassination an “act of terror” and vowed the response “will be decisive at the right time and place.”

However, Hamas swiftly denied the Iranian claim and reiterated that it attacked Israel over what it described as “the dangers threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” referring to the key Islamic site on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In a statement, the terror group said that “all Palestinian resistance actions” are a response to what it called the “occupation and its ongoing aggression against our people and the holy places.”

On the day of the attack, which Hamas dubbed ““Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge,” the terror group’s military commander Muhammad Deif said in a recorded message it was launched in retaliation for Israel’s “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and was a follow-up of previous warnings by the group.

IRGC officer Razi Mousavi with former IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani, killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020. (via Tasnim News Agency)

On October 7, thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst through Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and rampaged murderously through southern Israeli communities, killing over 1,200 people, mostly civilians slaughtered amid brutal atrocities. At least 240 people were abducted as hostages into Gaza.

Israel has responded with a military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas, removing it from power, and releasing the hostages. At the same time, Hezbollah has attacked along the northern border, hitting military posts and communities, and firing rockets into northern Israel. It says the action is to support Hamas.

Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Rasi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, have vowed revenge for Mousavi’s death. Hezbollah said that it regards the killing as a “flagrant and shameless violation,” according to Iran’s state-owned Press TV.

The Israel Defense Forces has declined to comment on the strike that killed Mousavi.

While Israel’s military does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed terror groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country, over the last decade.

Israel has accused Iran of being a key force behind the coordinated Hamas attack on Israel, in which the terror group succeeded in blasting through the high-tech Gaza border fence to carry out its devastating assault on nearby communities.

FILE – Hamas terrorists are seen crossing the Israel-Gaza border fence on October 7, 2023 (Kan TV screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Wall Street Journal reported in October that some 500 member of Hamas and the allied terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad trained in Iran ahead of the assault on Israel.

A US airstrike killed Soleimani in Iraq in January 2020. Tehran responded to the killing of Soleimani by launching a barrage of missiles at US bases in Iraq, causing dozens of brain concussion injuries but no deaths among US soldiers stationed there.

But Iranian officials have repeatedly vowed to take further steps and imposed sanctions on individuals accused of taking part in the assassination operation.

Soleimani, who led the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, was credited with helping to arm, train, and lead armed groups across the region, including the Shiite militias in Iraq, fighters in Syria and Yemen, the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, and terror groups in the West Bank and Gaza.

The US held him responsible for the deaths of many of its soldiers in Iraq. He is hailed as a national icon among supporters of Iran’s theocracy.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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