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EXCLUSIVE – Official: Financial Woes Prompt Calls From Within Hamas To Renew Ties With Iran

TEL AVIV – Hamas’ months-long financial crisis has led to calls from within the Islamic terrorist group to renew its relationship with Iran in hopes of securing future financing, a top Hamas official told Breitbart Jerusalem

The official said that for the last three months, Hamas has been unable to pay most of its employees, including those in the security and so-called military wings, more than 60 percent of their salaries.

The source said that the direct reason for the crisis is Egypt’s ongoing campaign to destroy the cross-border tunnels connecting Sinai and Gaza, which have been a valuable lifeline for Hamas.

With the increasing scarcity of the tunnels, Hamas’ ability to levy taxes on incoming goods and smuggle cash for its own purposes has been damaged. Another detrimental factor is the schism between Hamas and its allies in the Islamic State branch in Sinai following pressure from Cairo.

The official said that despite the crisis the movement’s financial standing is solid, “but it’s far from being what it was when Iran supported us completely.”

In light of the crisis, some members have called for rapprochement with Iran. “And there are calls to renew ties with Iran after the election of a new diplomatic team at the end of March or beginning of April,” he said.

He added that last week Hamas representatives Usama Hamdan and Ali Baraka met with Iranian officials at the Iranian embassy to Lebanon in Beirut, a meeting also attended by Hezbollah officials.

The meeting came after Hamas diplomat Muhammad Nasser attended a conference in Iran dedicated to the “Palestinian intifada,” which started in October 2015.

The source said that the “military wing,” increasingly powerful after the election of their leader Yahya Sinwar as the organization’s chief diplomat, supports renewed ties with Iran, which would likely fill their coffers and further strengthen the military wing.

 

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