The Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation Of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC) Talal Naji recalled the role that Iran and IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani played in the arms industry and military training of all the Palestinian factions in an interview that aired on Al-Alam TV (Iran) on August 11, 2021. He said that Soleimani, who was killed by in a U.S. airstrike in January 2020, told him that he sent 10 ships full of weapons to the Palestinian factions, even though only the Karine A, which was apprehended by Israel, became well known. Naji emphasized that the Karine A was not sent to Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, PFLP-GC or the PFLP but to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. He added that the PFLP-GC cooperated with Hamas to transfer the weapons from ships sent to Gaza from Lebanon and then shared the weapons with them.
Naji explained that the Palestinian weapons and rocket industry was developed by Soleimani after it was decided that Palestinian factions should manufacture weapons themselves. He added that Soleimani supervised the rocket development with the cooperation of the "brothers in Syria" and that the military training took place in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon alongside Hizbullah. Naji said that Soleimani would supervise "these things" himself. Talal Naji assumed the leadership of the PFLP-GC in July after the death of the movement's founder Ahmad Jibril.
Talal Naji: "The Islamic Republic [of Iran] has made a great contribution and invested a lot of effort in developing the military capabilities of the Palestinian resistance through training, developing weapons, and teaching our comrades among the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank how to manufacture weapons and rockets. As you know, there are difficulties in transporting these weapons and rockets to occupied Palestine."
Interviewer: "This is a new equation. In the past, weapons were transported [to Palestine], while today they are manufactured [there]."
Naji: "Yes, sure. Even in transporting weapons, Iran made an effort to support us in transporting weapons by way of sea, as you know. Let me tell you about what I heard from General Qasem Soleimani, may he rest in peace. He said: 'We sent ten ships full of weapons.' Most people probably do not know about these ships. Most people know about one ship, called Karine A, which was raided by the Zionist enemy in the Red Sea. You remember this, right?
"By the way, the Karine A was sent to the martyr Yasser Arafat, to the brothers in the Fatah movement – not to Hamas, the [Islamic] Jihad, the PFLP-CG, the PELP… No. It was sent to Fatah. Ten ships were sent to the various factions of the Palestinian resistance in Palestine.
"This was in the beginning, when we were transporting weapons. The martyr Jihad Jibril – the son of Abu Jihad. Ahmad Jibril – was assassinated by Zionist gangs in Beirut. His car was blown up on May 20th, 2002. They killed him because he was in charge of transporting weapons from Lebanon to Gaza. He sent three ships from Lebanon to the Gaza coast, far out at sea. The weapons were thrown from the ships in tightly-sealed barrels. We coordinated with the brothers in Hamas.
"The martyr Jihad Jibril asked them to send drivers and small boats in order to retrieve the barrels from the sea and bring them to the coast, and we used to split the weapons, and even give most of the weapons to them, because of their [relative] size and their responsibility. He used to give them most of the weapons and we took some of them. This was in the beginning.
"Then, at a later stage, under the supervision of the martyr Qasem Soleimani, [it was decided] that our people who waged resistance in Gaza should be able to manufacture weapons, and even develop rockets. At first, it was very short-range rockets. They used to have a range of 2 kms. Can you imagine this? The weight of the payload was vey limited, and thus its impact was minor. If a rocket has a 2 km range, and its payload is small, then the impact is weak.
"General Qassem Soleimani supervised the development of these rockets, in cooperation with the brothers in Syria. Sometimes the training took place in the Islamic Republic of Iran, sometimes in Syria, and sometimes in Lebanon, with the brothers in Hizbullah who are waging jihad.
"As you know, we are an axis – the axis of resistance. [Soleimani] used to supervise [these activities] himself. He used to supervise [these things] himself, as you know. This has been disclosed by the beloved brother Hassan Nasrallah – how [Nasrallah] and Soleimani discussed the necessity to send quality weapons to the resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip.
"General Qassem Soleimani was the one who planned the delivery of the Kornet – the famous Russian missile that is used against tanks and heavy APCs. [Kornet missiles] were sent to the Gaza Strip and the Zionist enemy was surprised by this, when in tanks were destroyed. They have a tank that they are proud of, they consider it to be the pride of the Israeli [arms] industry – the Merkava. [Merkava] tanks were destroyed in 2009. This bore the hallmarks of General Qasem Soleimani, may he rest in peace."