According to a report by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, around 500 fighters from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad participated in training exercises organized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a month before the attack on Israel on October 7th. The training, which took place in Iran, was led by officers from the IRGC’s Quds Force and attended by senior Palestinian officials. However, Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.
The report did not specify the sources of its information, whether they were American, Israeli, or other. Anonymous US officials told the WSJ that Iran has regularly trained militants but there were no indications of mass training specifically for the October 7th attack. The surprise attack by Hamas resulted in the death of around 1,400 Israelis and the capture of 200 others. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched artillery and airstrikes on Gaza.
While the US has been cautious in attributing blame, Israel openly accused Iran of aiding Hamas. Israel Defense Force (IDF) spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari stated that Iran had directly assisted Hamas with money, training, weapons, and technological know-how before and during the conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the conflict as a war against the “Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas axis of evil.”
The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that the Quds Force played a role in planning the attack and gave approval for it to proceed in a meeting with Hamas and Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon. The report claims that these allegations have been confirmed by senior Hamas and Hezbollah officials, as well as advisers to the Syrian government and a European official. However, the identities of these sources have not been disclosed.
Hamas official Ali Barakeh denied these claims, stating that Iranian security officials did not plan the attack and that it was organized by a small group of top Hamas commanders in secrecy. Iran’s envoy to the UN, Ami Saeid Iravani, categorically rejected the allegations of Iranian involvement in the October 7th events during a speech at the UN Security Council. Iravani emphasized Iran’s commitment to regional peace and stability and expressed support for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
The conflicting accounts and denials highlight the complexity of the situation and the difficulty in establishing a definitive narrative. While the Wall Street Journal’s report raises questions about Iran’s potential involvement, it is important to consider all available information and perspectives before drawing conclusions. As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, it is crucial to work towards a peaceful resolution and promote dialogue to address the underlying grievances and issues contributing to the violence.