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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Iran will ‘do whatever it takes’ to help Hamas – top commander

The leader of the Quds Force made the pledge following reports that Tehran was seeking to avoid direct involvement in the Gaza conflict

The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force has vowed to do “whatever it takes” to back Hamas in its war with Israel, claiming that the Palestinian militant group was headed for an “impressive victory” in Gaza.

The Quds Force is the foreign operations arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), responsible for military and intelligence missions beyond Iran’s borders.

Read more: U.S. Hits Back at “Iranian-affiliated” Camps in Syria

In a letter addressed to the commander of the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Quds Force leader Esmail Qaani declared that Tehran and its allies “will not allow this brutal enemy and those standing behind him to conquer Gaza and its heroic people.”

“We will do whatever it takes in this historic battle,” Qaani said, adding that Hamas had “proved to everyone that the resistance in Gaza is capable of initiative and innovation, while maintaining its organization and field capabilities.”

Published on Thursday by the state-backed Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Qaani’s letter comes a day after Reuters reported that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had informed Hamas that his country would not get directly involved in the Gaza war. Khamenei reportedly restated Iran’s long-standing “political and moral support” for Hamas, but ruled out military intervention.

Read more: Troops under attack in the Middle East: U.S accuses Iran

Earlier on Thursday, however, top Hamas official Osama Hamdan dismissed the Reuters story, telling IRNA: “Instead of providing information, this news agency has published worthless lies.” He added that such reports were intended to harm the image of Hamas and its allies in the “axis of resistance” – a network of Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Iranian officials have yet to comment on the Reuters report.

Qaani, who took over the force in 2020 after his predecessor, Qasem Soleimani, was killed by a US drone strike, went on to congratulate the Palestinian armed faction for an “impressive victory and qualitative achievement that is unprecedented in the history of the conflict,” promising that “your brothers in the resistance axis stand united with you.”