TEL AVIV – Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri said in Tehran on Sunday that Hamas and Iran are on “the same path” in fighting Israel, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“We are on the same path as the Islamic Republic — the path of battling the Zionist entity and the arrogant ones,” Arouri said during a meeting with Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Kamal Kharazi.
Arouri was joined in Tehran by other senior Hamas officials, including Moussa Abu Marzouk, Maher Salah, Husam Badran, Osama Hamdan, Ezzat al-Rishq and Ismail Radwan.
Iran funds Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as well as the military arm of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds Brigades.
On Saturday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that the terror group was “expecting important results” from the meetings in Tehran.
He did not elaborate further.
Haniyeh addressed Hamas’ withdrawal from Syria, saying the move was “procedural and fully investigated.”
He stressed that Hamas had no interest in interfering in Syria’s internal affairs and wished the war-torn country a speedy rehabilitation process, according to the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper.
Arouri, who in October 2017 was elected as deputy chairman of Hamas’ politburo, is also one of the founders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the mastermind behind several terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
The U.S. State Department last year issued a $5 million reward for any information leading to Arouri’s arrest.
He has made several trips to Iran since his election and praised the Islamic Republic for being the “only country” supporting Hamas’ efforts to destroy Israel.
“Iran is the only country that says that entity is carcinogenic and should be uprooted from the region,” he 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.”
Separately, the pro-Hamas London-based Middle East Monitor said a Hamas delegation met with Iranian officials in Beirut on Friday at the Iranian embassy to discuss the repercussions of the Trump administration’s as-yet unveiled peace plan.
Special aide to the President of the Iranian Shura Council, Hossein Amirabdollahian, reiterated Iran’s “support for the Palestinian people and their heroic resistance, praising the role Hamas and the resistance are playing to combat ‘the Israeli occupation’ and defend Muslim sanctities,” the report said.
Some 7,000 Palestinians took part in Friday’s weekly border march. Rocks, grenades and explosives were thrown at IDF forces, and some Palestinians were caught trying to infiltrate the border fence. Ninety-seven Palestinians were injured, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said.
Earlier this month, Hamas launched a rare, surprise military drill across Gaza simulating the capture of IDF forces operating in the territory. The drill saw the mobilization of reserve units, security personnel, police, intelligence units and soldiers from the terror group’s military brigade.
The IDF responded with its own large-scale exercise simulating war in the Gaza Strip.
During a televised speech at a rally for the so-called March of the Return protests, senior Hamas leader Fathi Hamad warned that if the blockade of Gaza, imposed by Israel and Egypt for security reasons, is not lifted by July 19, “every Jew on the planet” should be killed.
“Our patience has run out. We are on the verge of exploding. If this siege is not undone, we will explode in the face of our enemies, with God’s permission and glory. The explosion is not only going to be in Gaza but also in the [West] Bank and abroad, if God wills,” Hamad said in the speech, which was broadcast on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV.
“But our brothers [in the diaspora] are still preparing. They are trying to prepare. They are warming up. A long time has passed with them warming up. All of you seven million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the planet by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits. Enough of the warming up,” he added.
Hammad also warned that despite what Israel might think, Gazans are not rational, and that if they die they will do so honorably while “cutting off the heads of Jews and killing them with explosive belts,” which he said Hamas has been actively manufacturing in factories, according to a translation of his speech by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).