Sami Abu Zuhri
Sami Abu ZuhriReuters

Sami Abu Zuhri, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, confirmed on Saturday that Hamas has close ties with both Turkey and Iran.

In an interview with a Turkish news agency, as quoted by the Hamas newspaper Palestine, Abu Zuhri said that the strong relations with the Turkish government were based on the support of the Turkish leadership for Palestinian rights. With Iran, he said, the relationship was strengthened by Iran's support for the Palestinian struggle.

Last month, a senior Hamas delegation headed by deputy Hamas leader Salah Al-Aruri visited Tehran.

In his remarks, Abu Zuhri rejected Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas's demand to implement the principle of one governmental authority and one weapon, saying that the weapons of the “resistance organizations” are sacred and that a national consensus exists in his matter. He noted that the Palestinians will continue to carry the weapons until the “occupation” leaves Palestinian land.

A similar position was expressed by Ahmad Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament and a senior Hamas member, who said in a Friday sermon that the weapons of the resistance organizations are the legitimate weapon for the forcible return of Palestinian rights and for the release of “occupied land.”