Days before the attack, Iran’s Supreme Leader called for the eradication of the ‘Zionist regime’ which he described as a ‘cancer.’
The Izzuddin Al-Qassam Brigades (IQB), which carried out the attack, praised Iran for its support.
It is unclear when the statement was made.
Hamas is a Sunni—one of Islam’s major sects—terrorist organization, which was founded in 1988 as a spinoff of the larger Muslim Brotherhood.
Iran uses Hamas, which is based in the Gaza Strip, to launch attacks against Israel. With Tehran’s help, Hamas has built a long network of underground tunnels in the region and under the Israel–Gaza border to conceal weapons as well as house kidnapped Israeli civilians.
Iran’s Support for Hamas, Hezbollah
Iranian leaders who are extremely hostile towards Israel and have vowed repeatedly to wipe the country off the map, have hosted numerous meetings in the past few months, calling for renewed and united action against Israel, according to Washington-based research nonprofit Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
“Since 1992, the regime in Iran has invested billions of dollars in providing cash, arms, and training to Hamas, which has openly allied with the Iranian leadership. The two share not only a radical Islamist ideology but also a belief that Israel should be annihilated,” said Hussain Abdul-Hussian, an FDD research fellow, according to an Oct. 7 post by the nonprofit.
“The events unfolding in southern Israel are the consequence of the Iranian regime’s longstanding supply of weaponry and funding to Palestinian terrorist groups operating in the Gaza Strip,” FDD research analyst Joe Truzman said. “Iran has also extended its backing to terrorist organizations in various other regions, including Lebanon, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.”
Hezbollah is a Shia—another major Islamic sect—militant organization. It was established during Lebanon’s 1975–1990 civil war, founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982 to expand its Islamist ideology and fight Israeli forces that invaded Lebanon.
On Oct. 7, Hezbollah said that it was in “direct contact” with leaders of “resistance” groups in Palestine, calling Hamas’s attack in Israel a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel,” according to Reuters.
Biden Administration’s Role
Hamas’s attack on Israel was condemned by President Joe Biden.
“Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump blamed President Biden’s policies for the attack.
President Trump insisted that the United States and Israel needed “a very strong partnership.”
“This decision will be extremely deadly. Biden is giving $6 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. … Biden’s ransom payment will be immediately used to stoke violence, bloodshed, and mayhem throughout the Middle East and all around the world, costing countless innocent lives,” President Trump had warned in August.
In the wake of the deadly attack, President Biden’s move to unfreeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets is being severely criticized.
Saudi, China Angle
Hamas’s attack, which led Israel to declare that it’s at war, complicates U.S. efforts to broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
In a statement following the attack, Saudi Arabia took a pro-Palestinian approach, stating that the situation in the region might escalate “as a result of the continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities,” according to The Times of Israel.
Joost Hiltermann, Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, told Barron’s in an interview that the Hamas attack may have partly been triggered due to concern about “looming further marginalization of the Palestinian cause in Palestinian eyes” should Saudi–Israel normalization take place.
With Israel responding forcefully, Arab states may feel obligated to take a harder stance against Israel to support public sentiment, he said.
“If that all happens, then I would foresee a scenario where, just like we have a cold peace between Israel and Jordan, between Israel and Egypt, we end up with a cooling of the relationship between Israel and the Emirates and probably a delay, at least, of any sort of deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Chinese regime about the attack has irked Israeli officials.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Oct. 7 urged the two parties to remain calm, insisting that resolving the conflict may require “implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine,” according to Reuters.
In response, Yuval Waks, a senior official at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, said that they expected to see from China a “stronger condemnation” of Hamas.
“When people are being murdered, slaughtered in the streets, this is not the time to call for a two-state solution,” Mr. Waks said.