As Hamas credited Iran for “coordination” on the attack against Israel, a muddied picture of the level of involvement was painted by various sources.
The death toll in Israel rose to over 700 with hundreds more injured and many taken hostage by the terrorists that began their attack early Saturday morning. By Sunday, a report from the Wall Street Journal cited “senior members of Hamas” and the Lebanese militant party Hezbollah in claiming that officials from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had aided in planning the surprise offensive.
Referencing a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon from Monday prior to the attack, the report indicated that the IRGC had been plotting with Hamas since August to conduct what has readily been dubbed Israel’s 9/11.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was not prepared to support such an assertion over the weekend as he spoke to a current lack of “evidence,” though he did note the “long relationship” maintained in the Middle East.
“We don’t have anything that shows us that Iran was directly involved in this attack, in planning it or carrying it out, but that’s something we’re looking at very carefully. And we’ve got to see where the facts lead,” Blinken had told NBC News’s Kristen Welker as he also spoke to the likelihood that the atrocities had been committed against U.S. citizens in Israel as well.
“A European official and an adviser to the Syrian government, however, gave the same account of Iran’s involvement in the lead-up to the attack as the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members,” the Journal reported. “Asked about the meetings, Mahmoud Mirdawi, a senior Hamas official, said the group planned the attack on its own. ‘This is a Palestinian and Hamas decision,’ he said.”
Though personally taking no credit for the attack, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had celebrated the evil on X posting a video of revelers fleeing the violence at a festival near the border of the Gaza Strip where scores were ultimately killed while pronouncing, “…the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region.”
God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region. #AlAqsaStorm pic.twitter.com/XDyxoTT4gw — Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 7, 2023
In a statement from the Iranian spokesperson the United Nations refuted any claim to involvement in the planning and asserted, “The decisions made by the Palestinian resistance are fiercely autonomous and unwaveringly aligned with the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people.”
Iran’s U.N. mission also supported the attacks in their statement, “The resolute measures taken by Palestine constitute a wholly legitimate defense against seven decades of oppressive occupation and heinous crimes committed by the illegitimate Zionist regime.”
“We emphatically stand in unflinching support of Palestine; however, we are not involved in Palestine’s response, as it is taken solely by Palestine itself,” the statement reiterated.
However, even Blinken had admitted that $6 billion worth of Iranian assets unfrozen by the United States freed up considerable resources for backing terrorism. “Iran has unfortunately always used and focused its funds on supporting terrorism.”
Worth noting, in advance of Saturday’s attack, the Iran mission to the U.N. posted on X, “The Israeli regime poses an existential threat to the security & peace of the region & beyond. However, the Palestinian movement against usurpation, oppression & occupation will prevail–[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu will go down in history as a symbol of racism, aggression & injustice.”
The Israeli regime poses an existential threat to the security & peace of the region & beyond. However, the Palestinian movement against usurpation, oppression & occupation will prevail––Netanyahu will go down in history as a symbol of racism, aggression & injustice.… — Permanent Mission of I.R.Iran to UN, NY (@Iran_UN) October 4, 2023
The denials on plotting were not readily dismissed by Lina Khatib, the director of the SOAS Middle East Institute at the University of London, who told the Journal, “An attack of such scope could only have happened after months of planning and would not have happened without coordination with Iran.”
“Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, does not single-handedly make decisions to engage in war without prior explicit agreement from Iran,” she added.
Furthermore, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, countered the Iranian spokesperson’s claim Sunday and said, “We know that there were meetings in Syria and in Lebanon with other leaders of the terror armies that surround Israel so obviously it’s easy to understand that they tried to coordinate. The proxies of Iran in our region, they tried to be coordinated as much as possible with Iran.”