Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, has long received extensive support and aid from Iran and allied governments in the region — a relationship that has led to fingers being pointed at Tehran over Saturday’s outbreak of war. Consolidating questions in Washington and beyond about potential Iranian involvement The Wall Street Journal reports from Sunday eveningIran’s top security officials have been planning the attack with Hamas for weeks, citing unidentified Hamas and Hezbollah members.
Underscoring the comments by Israeli and US officials is a lack of intelligence about the possibility of Tehran’s intervention being firmly tied to Hamas. Iran, for its part, wholeheartedly endorsed Hamas’s attack, and a spokesman insisted the country was not involved.
“In this particular instance, we have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on CNN on Sunday.
Deputy National Security Adviser Joan Feiner supported Blinken’s comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday, saying the U.S. did not have “direct evidence” of Iranian involvement in the latest attack and could not confirm the Wall Street Journal report.
“We’re looking into it, but we don’t have the ability to confirm it at this time,” he said.
What looms large over Iran in the region ahead of the weekend attack is a U.S.-driven effort to reach a peace deal for Saudi Arabia and Israel. Such an alliance could destabilize Iran’s status in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia’s longtime rival and future ally.
Responding to a Wall Street Journal article that quoted members of Hamas and Hezbollah as referring to Iran, a senior Biden administration official said: “Hamas and Hezbollah are interested in engaging Iran, so you can’t take what they say at face value.”
The journal also reported the comments of a senior Hamas official who said the group planned the attacks on its own.
According to a recent report by the Associated Press, the death toll on both sides has already risen to 1,100, with thousands more injured. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said nine Americans were killed in the Hamas attack.