Hamas hails Iranian military after damaged relations are mended

Hamas hails Iranian military after damaged relations are mended
2 min read
28 August, 2017
Hamas has hailed Iranian assistance to its military wing, saying relations between the two anti-Iran powers have returned to normal, following a split over the Syria war.
Hamas' leader in Gaza has praised the Iranian military [Getty]

Hamas' head in Gaza praised Iran on Monday, marking a sign that relations between the two anti-Israel powers have finally, and officially, mended.

Yahya al-Sinwar said that the Palestinian movement's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades military wing had improved its capabilities thanks to improved relations with Iran.

"The Iranian military support to Hamas and al-Qassam is strategic," Sinwar told AFP.

"[Our relationship] has become fantastic and returned to its former era... Every day we build missiles and continue military training."

He said that Hamas and Iranian operatives were working "day and night [on] developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine".

Although Hamas does not seek armed conflict with Israel, he said, the movement was ready and prepared if war broke out.

Iran and Hamas - that has run Gaza since 2007 - have been traditional allies, with the Palestinian armed wing receiving financial and military support over the years.

Both form part of the so-called "Resistance" to Israel and both abide to Islamist - albeit differing - ideologies.

Relations between Sunni Hamas and Shia Iran soured following the outbreak of the 2011 Syria war.

Iran became one of Bashar al-Assad's major backers in the war, pouring in tens of thousands of fighters and weapons to prop up his regime against an insurgency sparked by popular protests in 2011.

Hamas' leadership - which is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and believed to be sympathetic to the rebels - left Damascus is a public falling out, although the movement didn't explicitly condemn the regime.

The improved relations between Iran and Hamas come as the Syrian regime begins to cement its hold over the country, thanks - in no small part - to Tehran.

Agencies contributed to this story.