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Hamas Leader: We Are Seeking to “Enhance and Develop” Ties With Iran

A senior Hamas official said that the terrorist organization wants to strengthen ties with Iran, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

“Mahmoud al-Zahar underlined that the Palestinian resistance group is seeking to reinvigorate relations with Iran,” Fars wrote.

“Relations with Iran are acceptable but they should further enhance and develop,” al-Zahar told the outlet. “If the [Israeli] regime is after a new war against the region, (it should know that) the Palestinian resistance, more than what they imagine, is ready to enter a real battle and the Zionists have understood this reality well.”

Terrorists in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip fired rockets against Israel last week, prompting Israel to retaliate against Hamas positions.

Al-Zahar’s comments echoed those of Osama Hamdan, the official in charge of Hamas’ foreign relations, who in February 2015 also indicated an interest in bolstering relations with Iran. “Hamas is looking for the expansion of mutual cooperation with Arab and Muslims states as well as those interested in the Palestinian cause across the world, including Iran,” Hamdan told the website Palestine Online, according to Fars. “Hamas has age-old relations with Iran and we want to have constant bilateral ties with Tehran.”

In July, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps expressed its support for Hamas, praising the terrorist group for being “at the forefront of the Palestinian nation’s anti-Zionism resistance and fight.” Hamas representatives met with Iranian diplomats shortly afterwards in Beirut. The two parties pledged to unite the Muslim world and confront the “Zionist danger” together.

Iran reportedly restored ties in May with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terrorist group, promising it $70 million in military aid. Tehran also reportedly backs Gaza’s new Shiite terrorist group al-Sabirin, which Israel’s channel 2 described as being modeled after Hezbollah. Al-Sabirin is led by a former Islamic Jihad commander and said to receive $10 million annually from Iran.

Terrorism expert Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote in July that Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist groups and activities has “only increased” in the year since Tehran reached a nuclear deal with world powers.

[Photo: Fars News ]