Al Arabiya Website: Iranian Engineers Helped Hamas Develop Missiles, Booby-Trapped Drones; Senior Iranian Military Official Visited Weapons Workshops In Gaza

print
May 26, 2021

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On May 26, 2021, the website of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television channel posted an article about the military assistance that Iran grants to Hamas, which includes help in the development of missiles and booby-trapped drones. The article also maintains that Iran transferred funds to Hamas and trained its military commanders in Iran.[1]

It should be noted that Saudi Arabia, which owns Al Arabiya, is opposed to Iranian policy in the region and to the conduct of Hamas. During the most-recent round of fighting between Hamas and Israel, articles harshly critical of Hamas were published in the Saudi media. The articles claim that Hamas sacrificed Palestinian lives to serve Iranian interests.[2]

The article on the Al Arabiya website relates that according to anonymous sources, Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who was killed in January 2020, had established a special unit to develop the military capabilities of Hamas. According to the report, the unit includes a seven-member team of experts in missile-development, comprising Iranians, Lebanese, one Syrian and one Palestinian engineer. It asserts that this team developed the missiles which Hamas launched at Tel Aviv during the most recent round of fighting. The entire missile-development process reportedly took place in the Gaza Strip, with Iran delivering the relevant information to senior Hamas military officials.

According to the sources, Iran established an underground communications unit for the organization as well as workshops for the development of weapons, which were visited on five occasions by a senior Iranian Quds Force military official, most recently in January 2021.

The sources note that recently, Iranian engineers, along with a Palestinian engineer, also worked on the development of booby-trapped drones.

It was further reported that Iran trained 25 Hamas military commanders in Iran, and secretly transferred funds to Hamas for the development of its military and defense capabilities.

It is noteworthy that during the most recent round of fighting, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad used several new types of weapons, among them new missiles and drones.[3] On May 19, the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television channel, which supports Hamas, released a documentary film about the Hamas missile-manufacturing industry and the assistance granted by Iran to this effort.[4]

The report in Al Arabiya about the military collaboration between Iran and the Palestinian factions is consistent with declarations in recent years from senior members of Hamas and other Palestinian factions, regarding Iran's contribution to the development of their military capabilities.

During an event held by the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip on May 30, 2019, on the occasion of Al-Quds Day, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, highlighted Iran's major role in the development of the organization's capability to launch and develop rockets.

Sinwar said: "Iran assisted us with rockets and supported us financially and technically in developing the rockets of the resistance that were fired at Tel Aviv. Without its support, the resistance would not have attained such military capabilities at a time when the [Arab] nation has deserted us."

Furthermore, in a December 31, 2020 interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement's Secretary-General Ziad Al-Nakhalah says that Soleimani had personally "supervised and directed the transfer of the missiles to Gaza [and had] travelled among several countries to persuade them [to help with this].” Nakhalah also reveals that Soleimani had sent ten shiploads of weapons to the Gaza Strip.[5]

Senior Iranian military officials also boasted about Iran's contribution to the development of the Palestinian factions in Gaza. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force and Missile Unit, said on January 2, 2021: All the missile might you see in Gaza and Lebanon was created with Iran's support. We have taught our allies and comrades on the resistance front how to make fishhooks instead of [giving them] fish or fishing [for them], and now they have the capability and technology [to do this themselves]."[6]

 

 


[1] Alarabiya.net, May 26, 2021.

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More