Iran has sought to take advantage of a discord between the military and political wings of Hamas, with hopes to further expand Tehran’s sphere of influence into the thick of battles between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group.
Iran has dumped millions of dollars into the Al Qassam brigades—the military wing of Hamas—in order to solidify relations with the Sunni Islamists that control the Gaza Strip, Con Coughlin, the defense editor of the Telegraph, reports in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section.
According to a senior Western intelligence official, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards during the past few months have transferred tens of millions of dollars to Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades. Intelligence reports show that the funds have been transferred on the direct orders of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, who also dedicated an annual budget to finance Hamas’s military operations.
The Telegraph editor reports that the funds are being used to build up Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure, much of which was destroyed during Israel’s war with the terror group last summer. Hamas utilized the tunnel network to sneak into Israel underground in attempts to kill or abduct Israeli soldiers and civilians.
The Iranian money is also going towards building up the jihadist group’s missile stocks, according to the intelligence report cited in the Wall Street Journal.
Separately, Israeli media reported that rockets were fired out of Gaza towards Sderot, Israel, on Thursday evening. The projectile was fired on the same day that Israel was celebrating its 67th Independence Day.
The attack marks the fourth time that Palestinian terrorists have violated a ceasefire that was agreed upon by Israel and Hamas, which went into effect on August 26 following the 2014, 50-day war between the opposing forces.