Yahya Sanwar, the head of Hams’ political bureau in Gaza has announced that IRGC Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani told him that Hamas will be provided with “all the resources in the battle to defend” Jerusalem.
The pro-Iranian al-Mayadin television in Lebanon broadcast an audio recording of Sanwar, describing a recent telephone conversation he had with Soleimani.
Sanwar quoted the Iranian commander as saying that “The Islamic Revolutions Guards Corps and the Quds force” stand by Hamas in “the defense of Quds”, which is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
Sanwar added that Soleimani asked Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and “all resistance forces” to devote their resources to the fight for Jerusalem.
The Hamas leader confirmed in his statement that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are in contact with Soleimani, although he did not specify what kind of practical cooperation the two sides might have.
IRGC’s news service had announced earlier that Soleimani had made phone calls to Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders five days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and also his decision to move the American embassy there.
It is not clear if Sanwar was speaking about the same phone call in his statement, but IRGC’s Fars news agency on Sunday confirmed that Soleimani has pledged Iran’s full support to Palestinian “resistance” groups.
The term “resistance forces” is used by the Islamic Republic to describe all groups and armed militants in the region who cooperate with Tehran.
Since the election of a new leadership for Hamas in February 2017, the group’s relations with Iran have improved, after a bit of tension over Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war.
Sanwar was a Hamas military leader before he was elected as the head of the organization’s political bureau in Gaza in February.
Meanwhile, the U.S. decision on Jerusalem has given Iran a new opening to try to re-establish its patronage of Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups.