Senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah have said that Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas's surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the attack at a meeting in Beirut last Monday.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Details: Officers from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been working with Hamas since August to develop an air, ground and sea invasion plan.
The details of the operation were finalised during several meetings in Beirut, attended by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers and representatives of four Iranian-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant group and political party.
US officials say they have seen no evidence of Tehran's involvement. In an interview with CNN that aired Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship."
"We don’t have any information at this time to corroborate this account," said a US official of the meetings.
However, a European official and an adviser to the Syrian government provided the same information about Iran's involvement in the preparation of the attack as the senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Iranian delegation to the UN in New York did not respond to a request for comment. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, praised the attacks, saying in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that "the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region."
A direct role for Iran would bring Tehran's long-running conflict with Israel out of obscurity, increasing the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East. Senior Israeli security officials have vowed to strike at Iran's leadership if Tehran is found responsible for the murder of Israelis.
A broader plan of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is to create a multi-front threat that could suffocate Israel from all sides – Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the north and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel has accused Iran of being behind the attacks, albeit indirectly.
The ability of Palestinian and Lebanese armed groups to coordinate with Iran will be tested in the coming days.
- On Sunday, 8 October, the White House said that US President Joe Biden had ordered "additional support" to Israel in the face of this unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas, but no details were given.
- The Pentagon also confirmed that it was beginning to redeploy the US Navy's aircraft carrier strike group to the Middle East.
- As of Sunday evening, more than 700 Israelis had been killed and more than 2,200 injured in the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
- The US media has reported that the United States plans to redeploy US Navy vessels and aircraft closer to Israel.