The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched operation "Al-Aqsa Flood," a surprise attack on Israel in the early morning hours of a major Jewish holiday. As part of the attack, the Gaza-based terrorist group fired thousands of rockets into Israel and dispatched fighters over the border into Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a mass mobilization and said "we are at war" during a televised address to the country about the attack.
The following report compiles initial statements on the conflict that were issued by Iran-backed militias across the Middle East, including Lebanese Hizbullah, the Iraqi Hizbullah Brigades, Ashab Al-Kahf, the Iran-backed Islamic Resistance Faction in Iraq, and the Ansar Allah Houthi Movement in Yemen.
Lebanese Hizbullah: "The Rifle Of Resistance Is The Only Option In Confronting The Occupation"
Shortly after the Al-Aqsa Flood attacks commenced, Lebanese Hizbullah (LH) released a statement in support of the operation, noting that the group is closely monitoring developments in coordination with Palestinian factions. LH added that the Israeli Government should "read the important lessons that the Palestinian Resistance have laid out in the field, and in the arenas of confrontation and combat."
The statement began: "Hizbullah congratulates the resisting Palestinian people and the mujahideen of the Palestinian factions, especially the dear brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas, for the large-scale, heroic operation that is crowned with triumph, divine support, and the promise of a final, comprehensive victory."
LH called the operation a "new affirmation that the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of the resistance are the only option in confronting aggression and the occupation, as well as a message to the Arab and Islamic world, and the entire international community – especially those seeking normalization with this enemy [Israel] – that the Palestinian issue is a live issue that will not die until victory and liberation."
"We call on the peoples of our Arab and Islamic Ummah and the free peoples of the world to announce their support for the Palestinian people and the resistance movements, which are affirming their unity in the field with blood, word, and deed," continued the statement.
In conclusion, LH warned Israel: "The leadership of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon closely monitors important developments on the Palestinian scene, follows conditions in the field with the utmost interest, and is in direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian Resistance at home and abroad, conducting with it a continuous assessment of events and the course of operations. Therefore, we call on the government of the Zionist enemy to read the important lessons that the Palestinian Resistance have laid out in the field and in the arenas of confrontation and combat."
Hizbullah Brigades: Al-Aqsa Operation "Changed The Face Of The Military Equation Against The Zionist-American Axis"
SUPPORT OUR WORK
The Iran-backed Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq also released a statement on October 7 on an affiliated Telegram channel, congratulating the Palestinian people for "throwing off the yoke of the Zionist entity" and for "changing the face of the military equation against the Zionist-American axis."
The statement continued: "We congratulate the noble Palestinian people, the courageous Islamic Resistance, and the free people of the world for commencing a siege on the Zionist entity, which is clearly evident today in the battle of Al-Aqsa Flood."
The declaration continued: "The unparalleled bravery of men in Palestine definitively proves the validity of the option of resistance for preserving the dignities of peoples and safeguarding sanctities. What the knights of the flood did today, by throwing off the yoke of the Zionist entity – despite its possession of advanced military and espionage technologies – is conclusive proof of the necessity of continuing the resistance approach, continuing to support it, and respecting its options."
The statement concluded by highlighting operation Al-Aqsa's importance for confronting the "Zionist-American axis": "The battle of Al-Aqsa flood has formed moral momentum for free people, and has changed the face of the military equation by paving the way for strategic deterrence implications against the Zionist-American axis, and necessitating a unity of confrontation against the enemy."
Ashab Al-Kahf: "Your Vengeance Will Be As Large As Your Dreams"
Ashab Al-Kahf, an Iran-backed militia in Iraq, also affirmed their support for the Palestinian factions in a statement on October 7, which lionized Palestinian fighters for taking Israeli soldiers captive.
"We, in the Islamic Resistance Ashab Al-Kahf, congratulate our resistance brothers in Palestine for their agonizing strikes and their capture of defeated soldiers of the occupation as part of their blessed operation, Al-Aqsa Flood," the statement read. It continued: "Your flood today obtained its force from the patience of the oppressed and their determination, and from the resolve of the resistance fighters who strove for years toward achieving the desired aim of a free Palestine. We pledge to the martyrs and those who were with them that they will see on this day the great brigade of Islam, the martyr Qassim Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis."
"Your vengeance will be as large as your dreams – the demise of the Entity and the eradication of the tumor of the Americans," it concluded.
Separately, Ashab Al-Kahf released on Telegram a poster featuring an armed jihadi and a quote by Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. The quote reads: "We said that you will not witness the next 20 years or the next 25 years, but they were in a hurry and want the demise [of Israel] to come quicker." A poster features a variation of this translated into Hebrew: "Imam Khamenei: "We have said that you [Israel] will not survive for another 20-25 years. But they [the Israelis] are in a hurry and want it [Israel] to disappear much faster."
International Resistance Faction: "What We Are Witnessing Today In Palestine Is What Hajj Qassim And Abu Mahdi Planted – The Fruits Have Ripened And Now Is The Time For Harvest"
The Iran-backed International Resistance Faction in Iraq released a statement on October 7, expressing support for operation Al-Aqsa Flood and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In its opening, the statement noted that Hamas's operation is "a new page in the pages of epics and sacrifice that has been authored by the Palestinian resistance today." It praised the "qualitative operation conducted by the heroic resistance fighters in Palestine, which has led to the death of a number of Zionist soldiers," and affirmed that the International Resistance Faction "stands by the side of the resistance of the Palestinian people," adding: "We consider its battle to be our battle."
The International Resistance Faction also attributed operation Al-Aqsa Flood to slain IRGC-Qods Force Commander Qassim Soleimani and slain Iraqi PMF Deputy Commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, writing: "What we are witnessing today in Palestine is what Hajj Qassim [Soleimani] and Abu Mahdi [Al-Muhandis] planted. The fruits have ripened and now is the time for harvest."
"What has happened today is nothing but a proof of the readiness of the resistance and its ability to strike the enemy and respond to its crimes," the statement declared.
Ansar Allah Houthi Movement In Yemen: "The Yemeni People Are Ready To Participate In Operation Al-Quds [sic] Flood"
The Ansar Allah Political Bureau issued a statement on October 7, 2023, coinciding with the launch of Hamas's "Operation Al Aqsa Flood." An English-language summary was provided by Al-Masirah TV, the Houthis' media arm. According to the summary, the statement declared that "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood revealed the weakness, fragility, and impotence of the temporary Zionist entity while showing the strength and effectiveness of the resistance in Palestine and its ability to strike the depths of Israel."
The statement also stressed the role of the Yemeni people and the broader ummah in supporting Hamas and the Palestinian resistance against Israel. According to the summary, "[The Ansar Allah Political Bureau] confirmed that the Yemeni people stand with the Palestinian people and resistance movements, declaring that they are ready to participate in the battle to defend Palestine and the nation's sanctities against the usurping Zionist entity. It called on all the people of the Arab and Islamic nations to support the Palestinian people and resistance movements with all forms of support in this historic battle."