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Daily Israel Report

Report: Iran Supplying Weapons to Gaza, but Not to Hamas

Iran is still supplying weapons to Gaza, but they are intended for groups other than Hamas, according to the Israel Defense website.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 3/30/2012, 10:53 PM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

The affair between the Hamas terror group and Iran may be over, but the Islamic Republic is still supplying weapons to Gaza, according to Amir Rapaport of the Israel Defense website.

In a report Friday, Rapaport noted that the root of the conflict between the terror group and Iran lies with Syria.

“Iran and Hamas reached a point of conflict following Hamas’ unwillingness to support Bashar al-Assad’s actions against his own people,” wrote Rapaport, also noting how Hamas has even begun to fold in on itself in Syria.

“The conflict between the parties revealed that the coordination that lasted several years between the two was not based on true love, but rather, a scorching hatred for Israel,” wrote Rapaport. “As a matter of fact, the people belonging to Hamas and Iran hate one another, primarily due to profound religious differences (the Iranian regime belongs to the Shiite faction of Islam, whereas Hamas is a devout Sunni movement).”

One of the ways the tension between Hamas and Iran is expressed, according to Rapaport, is in the fact that the Islamic Republic has not only completely halted funding to Hamas, but has also halted its supply of weapons to the terror group.

However, he noted, Iran is still supplying weapons to Gaza. “The weapon arsenal it sends to the Gaza Strip is intended solely for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and to organizations such as the Popular Resistance Committees,” explained Rapaport. “In return for their support, the organizations are asked to fire at Israel on occasion, such as in the southern round of fire from two weeks ago, and in the next round, which will probably happen soon.”

As far as Hamas is concerned, Rapaport noted, this is not a glorious period. He said that after the impressive accomplishment of the release of prisoners in the Gilad Shalit deal, the organization sunk into a difficult period, losing its popularity in Gaza to the Islamic Jihad, and finding it difficult to raise its head in Judea and Samaria.

“It is in this sector that Israel and the Palestinian Authority continue close intelligence cooperation intended to stop Hamas from organizing,” he wrote.

A recent expression of the tense relations with Iran was reflected in remarks recently made by a senior Hamas official, who claimed the terror group will not do Iran's bidding in any war with Israel.

Salah Bardawil, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said, “If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war.”

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar later sent two different signals, when he was asked whether the group would attack Israel if it launches a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

He first denied the group would get involved and told the BBC, “We are not part of any political axis. If Israel attacks us we will respond. If they don't, we will not get involved in any other regional conflict.”

He later denied he made those remarks and told the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency the BBC report was unfounded and a lie.

“Retaliation with utmost power is the position of Hamas with regard to a Zionist war on Iran,” al-Zahar told the Iranian Fars news agency.

Al-Zahar recently visited Iran, where he met the head of Iran's supreme national security council, Saeed Jalili, and the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)