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Analysis: Money Trail Leads From Iran to ISIS, by Way of Hamas

A report published Monday in Ynet that documents ties between Hamas and the Sinai-based branch of ISIS also shows Iran’s role in supporting ISIS.

Israel’s security establishment has pointed out a clear paradox in this dangerous collaboration: the bulk of Hamas’ financial support comes from Iran, which is persistently fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Many Iranians have already been killed on the frontline of this battle. Furthermore, the Iranians are specifically funding the Gaza front against ISIS’s Sinai branch – via Hamas.

The Times of Israel reported in September that Iran, in expectation of the sanctions relief it would receive under terms of the nuclear deal, was smuggling “suitcases of cash” to Hamas so that the terror group could upgrade its arsenal.

Since the deal was signed, Iran has significantly increased its financial support for two of the largest terror groups in the region that have become political players, Hamas and Hezbollah. In the years before the deal was signed, the crippling sanctions limited this support, which had significantly diminished along with Iran’s economy. But Tehran’s belief that tens, or hundreds, of billions of dollars will flow into the country in the coming years as a result of sanctions relief has led to a decision to boost the cash flow to these terror organizations.

At around the same time, Major General Ataollah Salehi, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces, boasted of the support Iran was giving to terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to help them fight terror wars against Israel.

The Ynet article, coming a week after the leader of ISIS’s Sinai branch was reported in Gaza, highlighted the operational cooperation between Hamas and ISIS. Hamas has been giving funds, received from Iran, to ISIS to finance its operations. Hamas has also provided training to ISIS and treated ISIS terrorists in Gaza hospitals. In return, ISIS has helped Hamas smuggle weapons into Gaza.

Because Hamas has a clear hierarchy and command structure, it is highly unlikely that funds would go to ISIS without approval from both the highest echelons of Hamas and their funders in Iran.

[Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90 ]