Iran will be renewing financial support to the Gaza-based terror organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad after two years of strained relations, the Arabic-language London newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday.
The move comes a month after a delegation of Islamic Jihad officials, headed by leader Ramadan Shalah, visited Iran. The delegation praised Iran for its support of the “Palestinian intifada” while meeting with senior regime officials, including Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force.
“The defense of Palestine amounts to a defense of Islam,” Shalah said then. “The Arab states did not support the popular uprising in Palestine and will never support it since it contradicts their leaders’ agendas. Iran is the only state that supports the intifada and the martyrs’ families.”
Iran viewed this declaration as a new pledge of allegiance to the Islamic Republic, sources close to Islamic Jihad told a-Sharq.
The Revolutionary Guard Corps will reportedly transfer $70 million in financial aid to Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Quds Brigade, as well as organize a leadership restructuring. Khaled Mansour, a senior Islamic Jihad commander with close ties to the Iranian regime, has been appointed as the brigade’s new leader.
Iran’s attempt to strengthen ties with Islamic Jihad is a seen as a rebuke to Hamas, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, for refusing to publicly back Iran in its conflict with its Arab neighbors.
Iran announced in February that it will pay $7,000 to the families of Palestinian terrorists who were killed while carrying out attacks, and $30,000 to families of terrorists whose houses were subject to punitive demolitions by Israel.
The Quds Brigade published a video clip in April showing off a new light plane it claims to be developing in order to attack Israeli targets.
[Photo: Iranian media]