Iran is funding Hamas’s violent campaign at Gaza border
Captured terror operatives say Hamas sends civilians to the fence, keeps its own gunmen back — ready to enter Israel if fence is breached to carry out terror attacks
Iran is funding Hamas’s campaign to promote violence and attacks against Israel under the cover of mass demonstrations at the border, the Shin Bet security service said on Monday.
Hamas has warned its own members to stay away from the security fence during Gaza’s mass protests, lest they get shot, while actively encouraging Palestinian civilians — particularly children and teens — to approach the border, the Shin Bet added, citing findings from a number of interrogations. If the fence is breached, however, armed Hamas gunmen are poised to enter Israel to carry out attacks.
“There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
Over the course of the past seven weeks of violent demonstrations along the Gaza border, in an event known collectively as the “March of Return,” Israeli forces have arrested a number of Palestinians, some of them Hamas members, who crossed the security fence into Israeli territory.
Ahead of mass riots expected on Monday, the Shin Bet released the findings of its interrogations of those suspects, which the security service said showed the methods used by Hamas to destabilize the border area, breach the fence and try to carry out terror attacks inside Israeli territory.
“From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure. In addition, it was found that Iran is providing funding to Hamas in order for it to carry out these violent activities along the Gaza Strip’s border fence,” the Shin Bet said.
The security service did not provide specific evidence of Iranian involvement. However, Hamas has maintained relations with the Islamic Republic and reportedly drawn significant funding from Tehran.
On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces expects upwards of 100,000 Palestinians to take part in violent protests along the Gaza border. These riots were expected on Tuesday, the Palestinian Nakba Day, which commemorates Palestinians’ displacement from their homes following the creation of the State of Israel. But on Sunday the military assessed that Hamas would look to capitalize on the media attention around the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and move its plans up a day.
The IDF warned Sunday that Hamas was planning to “massacre” Israelis.
The IDF is particularly concerned that the demonstrations will see mass border breaches, in which Palestinians, including Hamas members, would stream across the border and wreak havoc in nearby Israeli communities — attacking residents, setting fires and destroying property.
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