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May 12, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9330

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Officials: Iran Provides Our Missiles, Weapons, Funds, And Food, Our Gunmen 'Were Trained By Our Brothers In The IRGC'; Without Iran's Assistance, We Wouldn't Be Able To Fire Rockets At Tel Aviv; Qassem Soleimani Personally Oversaw Transfer Of Rockets To Gaza

May 12, 2021
Iran, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 9330

The following is a complimentary offering from the MEMRI Iran Threat Monitor Project (ITMP). For more information, write to [email protected] with "ITMP Subscription" in the subject line.

During the current Israel-Gaza clashes, several types of rockets and missiles have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Hamas's military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, announced that missiles of the Sejjil type, as well as SH85, J80, SA120, S40 and Q20 missiles, were fired. According to another announcement, the Brigades reported that Hamas is using "a new, special tactic to fire the highly destructive Sejjil missiles," which allows them to evade interception by Israel's Iron Dome system. It also claimed that Hamas had fired a Kornet anti-tank missile at a military jeep north of the Gaza Strip.[1]


Hamas announces it is using 'a new special tactic' to fire Sejjil missiles

Other terror organizations also boasted about the rockets fired into Israel. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) stated that it had fired Badr-3 rockets at the city of Ashkelon.[2] The military wing of the Al-Mujahideen movement said it had fired a Sa'ir rocket at Nahal Oz, a kibbutz on the Gaza border,[3] and the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees announced that it had fired a "KH rocket" at Israel's Hatzerim air base on May 12 and "Model 107" rockets at the Ashkelon area.[4]

As early as 2012, PIJ leaders had pointed out that its missiles had come from Iran. In recent years, the Gaza terror organizations have significantly upgraded their rocket capabilities, primarily with help from Iran, which has provided them with weapons and also helped them to boost their own rocket-manufacturing capabilities. Gazan officials have often highlighted the importance of this Iranian assistance, and stressed the direct involvement of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force killed in January 2020 in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, in the military buildup of Hamas and the PIJ.   

The following are excerpts from these statements, as published in MEMRI reports and clips.

May 2021 – Senior PIJ Official: The Rockets We Use to Pound Tel Aviv, And All Our Weapons, Money and Food, Are Provided By Iran

In an interview that aired on Al-Ahd TV (Iraq) on May 7, 2021, senior PIJ official Ramez Al-Halabi said that the rockets used by the faction to target Tel Aviv bear the signature of Iran and Soleimani. He added that faction members were trained by the IRGC and that Iranian money was used to buy weapons for the armed factions in Gaza and Lebanon. Al-Halabi added that every home in Gaza has Soleimani's portrait, and that "it is they [Iran] who support us with weapons, money, and food."

To view Al-Halabi's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

December 2020-January 2021 – Senior Hamas, Hizbullah Officials: Iran Sent Kornet Missiles To Gaza

At a January 2, 2021 memorial for Soleimani, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said: "During the time of aggression of 2008-2009 [i.e. Israel's Operation Cast Lead] a shortage of anti-tank weapons was discovered among the resistance fighters in Gaza, and Soleimani tried [to ensure] that those weapons wsiould arrive in the shortest possible time..."[5]

In a December 27, 2020 interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, Hizbullah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah clarified that the weapons in question were Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, and that they had arrived via Syria. He said: "The brother Al-Hajj Qassem [Soleimani] told me: 'Oh Sayyid [Nasrallah], we must take the Kornet [missiles] that you have and send them to the brothers in Gaza' – of course we were talking about Hamas and PIJ. I answered him: '...We took those missiles from the brothers in Syria. President Bashar Al-Assad agreed that those missiles, which Syria purchased from Russia, are in South Lebanon, but I don't know whether he will agree to them being in Gaza... It is only right that I request his approval.' [Soleimani] told me: 'No problem. Whoever meets with him first will speak to him.'

"By chance, I was the first to meet with President Al-Assad, and so I spoke to him... [Assad] said: 'As far as I'm concerned, there's no problem.' At the same time, Qassem [Soleimani] and the joint [Qods Force-Hizbullah] cell... received the Kornet [missiles] and transferred them [to Gaza].

"This is [only] one example. Everyone knows that the brother Qassem Soleimani and the brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran also sent [military] aid to Gaza using [their] diplomatic relations – for example, their relations with Sudan. Things came to the point where Israeli planes bombed factories or weapons storehouses in Sudan... because they are storehouses for weapons, ammunition and missiles to be sent later, by various and diverse means, to the Gaza Strip."[6]

Regarding the Kornet missiles which Hamas received from Iran, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Al-Mayadeen TV in a December 28, 2020 interview: "The Kornet missile has become necessary for the struggle against the occupation state... The Kornet conveyed to the occupation the message that it will be difficult for it to approach the [Gaza] borders... The Kornet constitutes a deterrent force that should be developed, in preparation for the defeat of the occupation and all its collaborators." Alluding to Iran, Al-Zahar thanked "all those who provide assistance to the resistance in the struggle against the occupation, even if it is [as small as] a pen."[7]

December 2020-January 2021 – PIJ Secretary-General Nakhalah: Soleimani Personally Oversaw The Transfer Of Rockets To Gaza

In a December 31, 2020 interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, PIJ Secretary-General Ziad Al-Nakhalah said: "We have had the Kornet [missile] in our possession since 2012, as have our brothers in Hamas. In all the campaigns [against Israel]... the resistance has used them... All the conventional weapons reached [Gaza] via Al-Hajj Qassem Soleimani, Hizbullah, and Syria, and the entire [resistance] axis played a part in transporting them... There are training camps in Syria where our brothers in Hamas received special training to produce the rockets..." Nakhalah said 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]... He personally visited Sudan [and arrived at] a clear agreement that it [Sudan] would serve as a station for the transfer of the weapons." Nakhalah also revealed that Soleimani had send 10 shiploads of weapons to the Gaza Strip.[8]

The next day, January 1, 2021, Nakhalah told Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam TV about Soleimani's role in arming and training the military factions in Gaza. He said that "nothing happened without his direct orders and oversight" and that it was Soleimani who had supplied the missiles used to attack Tel Aviv. Al-Nakhaleh added that Soleimani had played a "pivotal" role in the decision to attack "the capital of the Zionist entity" and that thanks to the experience gained under Soleimani's guidance, the people of Gaza had learned how to manufacture missiles locally.

Nakhalah said: "With the capabilities at hand today, Gaza can confront Israel for a prolonged war. These expertise did not come from nowhere. They are the result of a great effort by Hajj Qassem [Soleimani] to enable [the Palestinian] fighters to reach that goal."

Adding that Soleimani "did not train [the Palestinians] himself, obviously, but he gave instructions to the experts who supervised these matters," Nakhalah said that his plans had "of course" been implemented, and that "nothing happened without his direct orders and supervision. What stage was reached, the results, all these things – he supervised all that. This was in addition to the strategic step of sending missiles and weapons to the Gaza strip. It was almost miraculous. It was very expensive in terms of technology, security, and capabilities..."

Despite the logistics, he said, "it was accomplished. [Soleimani] himself invested a lot [of effort] into this. He traveled to various countries, made plans, and set up guidelines to deliver these weapons [to the Gaza Strip]. And indeed, these weapons were delivered [to the Gaza Strip]. I can say that the missiles that [Soleimani] delivered to the Gaza Strip were the ones used to attack Tel Aviv. I can say that Hajj Qassem played a pivotal role in the fact that the Palestinians ventured to attack the capital of the Zionist entity. From that point in time, weapons were developed in Palestine, and the Palestinians began to manufacture all the missiles themselves as a result of the experience they gained thanks to the decisions of Hajj Qasem. This is a great and important issue, and without a doubt played a role in strengthening the Palestinian resistance."

To view Nakhala's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

May 2020 – PIJ Secretary-General Nakhalah: Nothing Happened In Gaza Without Soleimani's Direct Orders And Oversight; He Supplied The Rockets We Used To Attack Tel Aviv

In a May 21, 2020 interview, on Egypt's Al-Nas TV, PIJ leader Nakhala told Iraq's Al-Nujaba TV that thousands of Palestinian fighters had been trained at designated camps set up by Soleimani. He explained that these fighters had been transported out of the West Bank and Gaza to these camps, and that six months previously, in December 2019, 80 PIJ fighters had been arrested by authorities in Egypt.

He said in the interview: "People do not know that thousands of Palestinians were trained in camps supervised by Hajj Qassem [Soleimani]. I'm talking about thousands of Palestinians from within the occupied land. By various methods and means, they would be transported, trained, and returned."

Confirming that the fighters were transported from "Gaza and the West Bank," he added: "I wouldn't be revealing a secret if I told you that six months ago, the Egyptians detained 80 of our fighters in Cairo. I travelled to Cairo and we reached an understanding."

To view Nakhala's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

May 2020 – Hamas Political Bureau Head Isma'il Haniya: "Iran Has Never Hesitated To Support The Resistance And Assist It Financially, Militarily, And Technologically"; Haniya Deputy Al-Arouri: "Iran Has Given Hamas And The Resistance Movements All The Support And Weapons They Need"

In Qods Day statements in May 2020, Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya said: "Iran has never hesitated to support the resistance and assist it financially, militarily, and technologically."[9]

Saleh Al-Arouri, Haniya's deputy, told Al-Mayadeen TV in a May 2020 interview that "relations between Hamas and Iran are strong" and that "Iran has given Hamas and the resistance movements all the support and weapons they need." He also revealed that during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza war, Soleimani had been present in the Hamas military operations room in Damascus, and added that Soleimani's successor Esmail Ghaani was "maintaining the coordination and assistance to the Palestinian resistance."[10]

To view Al-Arouri's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

January 2020 – Reporter For Hizbullah-Affiliated Daily: Soleimani Found Ways To Smuggle Weapons Into Gaza, Established Cyber And Information Units To Handle Palestinian Issues

A reporter for the Lebanese Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Akhbar daily, 'Abd Al-Rahman Nassar, wrote about Soleimani's extensive military aid to the Palestinians in Gaza, the various sophisticated methods he developed for smuggling weapons there, and his occasional role in mediating between Palestinian factions. He wrote: "A commander in the [Palestinian] resistance says that nearly every missile and rifle in Palestine bears Soleimani's fingerprints... He personally oversaw the establishment of the route for transferring game-changing missiles and weapons to the Gaza Strip. The route was circuitous: from the [Persian] Gulf to the Red Sea and through Eritrea to Sudan, where there were factories for assembling [the missiles], and then via Sinai to the resistance [in Gaza].  That was the initial route of the missiles, before it was decided that Gaza would manufacture its own weapons, of every kind. At certain points, when the situation in Sinai was difficult and the resistance needed weapons urgently, Hajj [Soleimani] took a gamble [and came up] with the idea of throwing the weapons from ships passing through the Suez canal, in barrels, after verifying the direction of the sea currents [and making sure] that they will reach Gaza. The resistance [fighters] would sail out a short distance into the sea and collect most of the barrels...

"There is no prominent Palestinian leader, political or military, who did not meet with Soleimani... He even mediated in several disputes between the factions, in various periods. He ate with them and met with them in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and other countries... and established units with many missions related to Palestine, including in the fields of cyber and psychological warfare, and the like... When Hamas decided to change its political charter, it sent Soleimani a copy so he could review it and make recommendations before the [Hamas] political bureau approved it...

"Soleimani received special dispensations for the Palestinian resistance from the Syrian regime... He obtained Assad's permission to conduct missile tests in the Syrian desert, and permission to land planes on a special landing strip in one of the Syrian air bases, without the Syrian soldiers questioning the identity of those coming and going. There were many other favors as well...    

"Even during the worst periods of tension between Hamas and Iran, Soleimani did not end his contact with the movement, especially with its military wing, but continued to supply it with weapons, without any delay...

"In the recent weeks, Soleimani met with many political and military Palestinian leaders, to examine in minute detail their needs in light of the growing economic pressure on the resistance axis and to assess the outcomes of the latest confrontations with Israel. In 2017, after Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Soleimani called the headquarters of [Hamas's military wing], the Al-Qassam [Brigades], and of Saraya Al-Quds, the military wing of the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and spoke with them directly and warmly, promising to continue his 'open-ended assistance' to the resistance factions..."[11]

May 2019 – Hamas Leader In Gaza Sinwar: Without Iranian Assistance, We Wouldn't Have The Capacity To Fire Rockets At Tel Aviv; December 2017 – Soleimani Pledged to Place IRGC Capabilities at Our Disposal

On May 30, 2019, Al-Sinwar attended the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada. The conference was held by the Gaza factions on the occasion of Qods Day, identified with Iran, which is marked there and in many Arab countries as well as by Muslims in the West with mass anti-Israel marches.

In his address, Al-Sinwar stressed Iran's central role in enhancing the military capabilities of Hamas and other Palestinian organizations, noting the progress they have made over the years: "In 2008-2009, the resistance fired several dozen locally-manufactured Grad rockets [into Israel]. In the 2012 war it managed to develop its means and bombard Tel Aviv with 18 Fajr rockets, and in 2014 it fired over 170 Fajr rockets at Tel Aviv. All this was with the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran."[12]

He added: "We will continue to develop our capabilities to fight the occupation. 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... Nobody should blame us for our gratitude towards Iran, for it behooves us to thank everyone who helps us realize the goals of our people and our nation." Al-Sinwar advised the Arab leaders to take an example from Iran and support the Palestinian resistance if they wish to stay in power.[13]

To view Sinwar's May 30, 2019 statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

Earlier, in a December 25, 2017 speech in Gaza, Sinwar said that Soleimani had contacted the commanders of the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades to say: "We place all our capabilities at your disposal in the battle for the defense of Jerusalem." According to Sinwar, Soleimani's pledge was unconditional. In the speech, that was aired by Mayadeen TV, Sinwar said: "Qassem Soleimani contacted the commanders of the Al-Qassam [Brigades] and with the commanders of the Al-Quds Brigades, as was published in the news. The reports were correct. But then, the Zionist media and some pro-Zionist media outlets tried to put these contacts in the wrong context. The man contacted [us] and stressed that Iran, the IRGC, and the Al-Qods Force stand, with all their capabilities, alongside our people, in defense of Jerusalem, and in order to keep Jerusalem the capital of the State of Palestine...

"He said clearly: We place all our capabilities at your disposal in the battle for the defense of Jerusalem. He did not ask, set conditions, or encourage us to employ any specific type of resistance. Let me tell you something. I sat with the man when I visited Tehran in 2012. I saw a man who loves Palestine, loves Jerusalem, and loves anything that could bolster the steadfastness of our people."

To view Sinwar's December 25, 2017 statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

In 2012, PIJ Leaders Acknowledged That Missiles Came from Iran

In 2012, PIJ leaders stressed in statements on various TV channels that they "receive Iranian aid and support" and that "the weapons that are fighting the Israeli aggression and arrogance in Palestine come mainly from Iran," that the "entire world" knew this, and that this was "no secret." The statements aired between November 15-20, 2012.
On Al-Jazeera TV on November 20, 2012, PIJ leader Ramadhan Abdallah Shalah said: "With regard to the Iranian position – even if we have disagreements with Iran regarding the situation in Syria, I don't think that we, as the Palestinian resistance, have disagreements with Iran regarding what is happening in Palestine, or regarding the Zionist aggression against the Gaza Strip. With regard to Palestine, we are in complete agreement with Iran. Iran has given us all the aid and all the support. The weapons that are fighting the Israeli aggression and arrogance in Palestine come mainly from Iran, as the entire world knows. This is no secret. These are either Iranian weapons or weapons financed by Iran."

The previous day, on Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam TV, then-PIJ deputy secretary-general Ziyad Nakhala said: "We are on the brink of a great victory, Allah willing. This is a new stage in the conflict with the Zionist enterprise." He added that the missiles have "absolutely" changed the equation and that "this wonderful weapon has proven its significant role in battle. The missiles have changed the balance of power, and have proven to Israel that we can shell their cities like they shell ours, and that we can shell their military camps like they shell our children."

In response to the host's question about whether the PIJ was "firing the Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles" and whether the organization had them, Nakhala said: "Absolutely. These missiles have restored the honor of the Palestinian people. We received these missiles from our allies and brothers in the Islamic Republic. They have generally given us these missiles, exerting great effort. These missiles have changed the equation in this conflict.=

Additionally, on Al-Mayadeen TV on November 15, 2012, senior PIJ official Sheikh Khaled Al-Batsh said, in response to the host's question of whether the Fajr-5 missiles were "produced locally or brought from outside Palestinian lands?": "These missiles are 100% Iranian made, and are part of the legitimate aid that the Islamic Republic provides to the Palestinian people. This is well known and was announced in the media."

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

 

[1] T.me/qassambrigades, May 11, 12, 2021.

[2] T.me/sarayaps, May 11, 2021.

[3] T.me/darebmojaheden, May 11, 2021.

[4] T.me/alwya2000, May 11, 12, 2021.

[5] Asfar-lb.org, January 2, 2021; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9123; see also Marking Anniversary Of Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Hamas Continues To Signal Loyalty To Iran, Resistance Axis, January 5, 2021.

[6] Alahednews.com.lb, December 27, 2020; see also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9123, Marking Anniversary Of Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Hamas Continues To Signal Loyalty To Iran, Resistance Axis, January 5, 2021.

[7] Almayadeen.net, December 28, 2020; see also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9123, Marking Anniversary Of Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Hamas Continues To Signal Loyalty To Iran, Resistance Axis, January 5, 2021.

[8] Almayadeen.net, December 31, 2020, January 1, 2021; see also MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9123, Marking Anniversary Of Killing Of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Hamas Continues To Signal Loyalty To Iran, Resistance Axis, January 5, 2021.

[12] Moqawmh.ps, May 30, 2019. 

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