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January 9, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11067

Senior Hizbullah Official In Interview With Egyptian Website: Hamas Operatives 'Were Trained In Lebanon, Syria And Iran'

January 9, 2024
Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11067

In a recent interview with the Egyptian website Al-Masir, Hassan Hoballah, the Hezbollah official in charge of Palestinian relations, revealed that Hamas fighters were "trained in Lebanon, Syria and Iran." He also said that Hizbullah "has an alliance with the Palestinian resistance on every level" and therefore "aids the Palestinian resistance with everything it has, with weapons and training." Hoballah added that, at present, Hizbullah has no intention of turning the war with Israel into a regional conflict, but that it can escalate the war into a comprehensive one if Hamas is defeated or Palestinians are expelled from Gaza.

It should be noted that, in a recent interview with the same website, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Na'im Qassem likewise said that Hizbullah will join the war against Israel if Hamas is defeated or Gazans are expelled. He added that the present war with Israel will not be the last, and that the next war will involve the entire resistance axis, including Iran.[1]

It should be noted that Hizbullah's media department denied that Hoballah had given an interview to Al-Masir,[2] despite the fact that the Al-Masir article includes photographs of Hoballah with the website editors.


Hoballah (center) with Al-Masir editors Muhammad Abu Zayed (right) and Muhammad Timsah (left) (Image: Elmaseer.com, January 2, 2023)

The following are excerpts from Hoballah's interview with Al-Masir.[3]

If The Resistance Is Defeated, The Palestinian Cause Will Be Lost

Question: "Three months after the start of the Al-Aqsa Flood [campaign], what are the chances that it will turn into a comprehensive war, or that it will end soon?"

Answer: "I believe that the war is nearing its end, because the Zionist entity has used all the brutal force at its disposal, including [by waging] a ground war and [using] commando forces, and all these operations failed. And the U.S., which is managing this campaign along with Israel, has started to demand that Netanyahu replace his extremist government and his war cabinet. I do not deny the existence of immense difficulties in Gaza… but [the Gazans will remain] patient and steadfast until victory is achieved, Allah willing."

Question: "Do you believe that the resistance with its limited abilities, is capable of winning?"

Answer: "For the resistance, victory means thwarting the enemy's goals. The resistance is not an army that can invade and liberate the land, and if it does liberate land it does not have the ability to remain there [long], because the enemy has immense fire power in the land, sea and air. So the victory of the resistance is thwarting the enemy's plan, as happened in the 2006 Lebanon war, when Israel destroyed the Dahiya in southern [Beirut], and destroyed the bridges and villages and Lebanon's infrastructures, but could not harm the resistance. More than that, it did not manage to advance [even] five kilometers into Lebanon…"    

Question: "What kind of aid and support does Hizbullah extend to the resistance movements in Gaza?"

Answer: "Hizbullah aids the Palestinian resistance with everything it has, with weapons and training, because we have an alliance with the Palestinian resistance on every level. Moreover, helping the oppressed is one of our religious, moral and national duties…"

Question: "Why haven't Iran and Hizbullah so far entered the war with all their might, although Tehran has threatened to do so more than once since [the start of] the Al-Aqsa Flood [campaign]?"

Answer: "If we enter the war with all our might, it will turn from a war for the liberation of Palestine into a regional war. [This regional war] will end with a regional agreement, a ceasefire agreement or an international resolution, and then the Palestinian right will be lost. As long as the [Palestinian] resistance is in the lead and has not been defeated, we will continue the limited conflict. But if things head in the direction of a complete defeat for Hamas, we will enter a comprehensive war, for we will not allow the defeat of the Palestinian resistance, and especially of Hamas, which is the goal [of Israel's] offensive. We [also] oppose the expulsion of Palestinians, and if these two [principles] are violated, and there is danger of expulsion or of a defeat of the resistance, we will enter a comprehensive war even if it turns into a regional war. Because if the [Palestinian] resistance is defeated, the Palestinian cause will be lost. We in Lebanon opened up the war front with Israel as [a way] to assist [the Palestinians], and not as a [full-fledged] campaign, because we do not want the campaign to turn into a regional war that will result in the loss of the Palestinian rights."

Hizbullah Is Not Interested In Expanding The War

Question: "What kind of messages and warnings did Hizbullah receive from the international mediators who urged it to avoid becoming embroiled in a broader conflict?"

Answer: "We said at the height of the war that all the options are on the table. As for the Americans, they conveyed messages and told us explicitly: 'We are not interested in expanding the war.' Whoever said that 'the [American] aircraft carriers arrived in the region to act against Lebanon' is lying. [The Americans] sent us those messages through the Lebanese government, through UNIFIL and through other elements.

"The coordination with the resistance in Palestine enables us to assess the situation on a daily basis and determine whether or not the situation calls for decisive intervention [on our part]. That is, we do not stick to one decision [all the time]. We believe that the campaign should be Palestinian, but we are perfectly ready to expand the war into a comprehensive confrontation at any moment.

"That said, I think the [Israeli] side is carefully considering how to eliminate the threat posed by Hizbullah even if the war in Gaza ends. We are well aware of this, and we have data and information that has not been disclosed, regarding an [Israeli and Western] intention to strengthen the UNIFIL forces and the Lebanese army, and to offer Hizbullah incentives, [such as an Israeli] withdrawal from disputed points and places in the sea and on land, including the Shab'a Farms, despite their strategic importance [for Israel]. [In return,] the Americans have promised [Israel] to construct a three-story barrier that will prevent Hizbullah from having an advantage over Israel once it receives the Shab'a Farms. Hizbullah [will receive] all this [just] in return for its withdrawal from the campaign. This reflects the power of the South Lebanon resistance front, and the important role it plays in easing the pressure on Gaza. The Western support for the Zionists' massacres in Gaza is vast and immense, and the number of martyrs in Gaza could have been far greater were it not for Hizbullah's action. In the absence of a second front [in the north], the Israelis would have been free to act, and perhaps they would have killed 4,000-5,000 [Palestinians] every day instead of 400-500…"

Iran Trained Hamas In The Use Of All Its Weapons

Question: "Have any voices [in Lebanon] expressed opposition to Hamas carrying out military operations from Lebanon?"

Answer: "Hamas has carried out limited operations from Lebanon. We, Hizbullah, [deliberately] refrain from managing this front on our own, so that nobody will say we are leading [the fighting] and preventing others from taking part. At the same time, we convey to the enemy that we are not responsible for its security, and do not prevent anyone from taking part [in the fighting against it], because we do not work for the Israelis. The Jama'a Al-Islamiya [organization in Lebanon] carried out two or three operations; Hamas [in Lebanon] carried out a few operations, and the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad [in Lebanon] meant to carry out operations, but as usual hesitated and did not do so. However, we are in control of the front."

Question: "What is your opinion about what is happening on the Yemeni front and its role in challenging and embarrassing Israel?"

Answer: "…The Yemeni people always used to chant the slogan 'Allah akbar, death to Israel and America.' This is a theoretical slogan for many Arabs, but in Yemen it is a practical one. Yemen has been supporting the Palestinian cause for 50 years, and its strategic location [allows it to] place international trade in a bind. Even in the days of [former Yemeni president] Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen supported the Palestinian resistance with all its might, and Ali Abdullah Saleh issued Yemeni diplomatic passports to Fatah members so they could travel all over the world and operate against Israel. Abu Ammar [Yasser Arafat] himself said that Fatah had military training camps in Yemen. Yemen has been standing with the resistance ever since the outbreak of the Palestinian revolution in the 1960s…"

Question: "Have Hamas [fighters] received training from Hizbullah?"

Answer: "Of course, they received training in Lebanon, Syria and Iran. It is no secret that Iran trained them in [the use of] all the weapons they employ. This [fact] is now known to all…"

 


[1] Elmaseer.com, January 4, 2024.

[2] Mediarelations-lb.org, January 4, 2023.

[3] Elmaseer.com, January 2, 2024.

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