(PatriotWise.com) — In the weeks before the October 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, hundreds of Hamas terrorist fighters received specialized training in Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to sources familiar with the intelligence on the October 7 attacks, about 500 fighters from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad participated in combat exercises led by officers from Iran’s Quds Force in September. The Quds Force is the foreign operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Senior Palestinian officials and Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, the commander of the Quds Force, also attended the training, according to the sources.
The Journal previously reported that the Quds Force helped in planning the attacks, and the go-ahead to launch was given at a meeting in Beirut with leaders from Hamas and Hezbollah on October 2.
However, senior US officials have disputed accounts of the Beirut meeting, suggesting that there is “compelling” intelligence that Tehran was surprised by the October 7 attacks.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a press briefing last week that the intelligence the US has does not show a direct connection between Iran and the October 7 attacks by Hamas. However, Ryder said this was something US intelligence would continue to investigate.
Since the attacks, Hamas leaders have boasted that they had Iran’s support.
Senior Hamas official Khaled Meshaal said in a recent interview that both Iran and Hezbollah provided Hamas with “weapons, expertise, and technology.”
Officials from Egypt and the West confirmed that Hamas contacted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah officials to inform them when the attacks first started. Since then, the IRGC, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror groups in the region have said they are in close contact with each other to coordinate their attacks.
In recent days, Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani visited Lebanon to meet with Hezbollah and Hamas leaders.
The IRGC operates independently from the Iranian government and its conventional military, reporting directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
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