Iran says it gave missile technology to Hamas

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Hamas is able to fire missiles into Israel because Tehran provided weapons technology to the militant group to defend itself against Israeli attacks, a senior Iranian official said Monday.

Officials from Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards have said in the past that Fajr-5 missiles are part of Hamas’ Gaza Strip arsenal, whose technology has been supplied by Iran and produced locally without needing direct shipment.

“Palestinian resistance missiles are the blessings of Iran’s transfer of technology,” the Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, Mohsen Rezaei, was quoted as saying by Al-Alam, the Arabic channel of Iran’s state TV. “We need to transfer defensive and military technology to Palestinians so that they can build weapons under the blockade and defend themselves,” he added.

Hamas has fired more than 3,200 rockets into Israel during the recent conflict, with some intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and many of the crude missiles landing in open areas away from cities. Israel, which launched its military operation in Gaza on July 8, has since carried out more than 4,600 airstrikes across the crowded seaside area. More than 1,880 Palestinians and over 60 Israelis have been killed in the fighting.

Rezaei, a former Revolutionary Guard chief commander, wrote to President Hassan Rouhani this week calling on him to provide air defense systems to Hamas to hit invading Israeli planes. He also said Hamas should dig tunnels to be used as shelter to protect Gaza’s population from Israeli assaults.

“I’ve requested Rouhani to provide air defense systems to Gaza so that Palestinians can defend themselves against invading planes,” he said, adding that Iran was not shy to publicly declare its military support for Hamas.

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