|Billboards in Gaza City thank Iran for its support in last month's flare-up with Israel|
“Tehran opens weapons highway to Hamas,” reads a screamer on Lebanese Hezbollah’s al-Manar portal this morning.
Significantly, the article bylined Qassem Qassem says Tehran has opened an artery of “weapons and cash” to the Hamas Islamic Movement in Gaza “despite the Movement’s break with Syria.”
Qassem says Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has communicated Iran’s decision to his senior aides. He told them Tehran would be supplying a “substantial stockpile of quality weapons” to Hamas and ignoring the latter’s fallout with Syria.
Iran, Syria and Hezbollah make up the so-called “Axis of Resistance.”
Nasrallah briefed his top lieutenants in the wake of a recent visit to Tehran by Hamas politburo member Imad el-Alami.
Qassem says Alami and Iranian leaders agreed during the visit “to sidestep all political discourse” concerning Syria.
Lebanese Hezbollah has since issued a circular banning all members from criticizing Hamas in the print, audio or social media over its Syria stance.
Alami was born in the Gaza Strip in 1956. He holds a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Egypt’s Alexandria University. He was held by Israel for two years before his deportation to Lebanon in January 1991 with three other Hamas members. He then settled in Damascus before moving back to Gaza.
In a statement published November 7 on its official website Hamas reported that Syrian security forces raided the office and apartment of Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal on November 5, emptying them of their contents. The forces then proceeded to confiscate Meshaal’s cars and lock the offices.
On November 6, Syrian regime forces repeated that raid on Alami’s office.
Hamas leaders abandoned the Damascus headquarters in January 2012, citing the regime’s brutal crackdown on the Syrian people.
Meshaal is now visiting Gaza for the first time after crossing the border from Egypt on Friday to celebrate Hamas’ 25th anniversary.
He was the target of a botched Israeli assassination attempt in Amman 15 years ago during Benjamin Netanyahu's first term as Israel’s prime minister.
Meshaal’s visit to Gaza comes two weeks after Hamas reached a cease-fire with Israel brokered by Egypt.
Six Israelis and more than 160 Gazans were killed during the flare-up in which Gaza militants fired about 1,300 Iranian-made rockets and missiles at Israeli targets, while Israeli warplanes launched approximately the same number of air strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Gaza watchers believe Iran proved to be a key player in the Gaza battle. “Her Fajr-5 missile was the star of the face-off.”
The Fajr-5, developed by Iran and also supplied to Hezbollah, has a range of up to 75 kilometers, which means it can hit central Israel from Gaza.
Iranian missile components are reportedly smuggled via Lebanon and Sudan to Egypt’s Sinai and on to the Gaza Strip, where the missiles are assembled locally.