Iran admits aiding Hamas, Hizballah

Sunday, June 24, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

While Fatah officials have accused Iran of carefully orchestrating Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza, Hamas leaders deny any connection.

Palestinian Authority Intelligence Chief Tawfiq Tirawi accused Teheran of funding Hamas and training hundreds of their gunmen. He told a news conference that the Hamas leadership planned the takeover in a meeting in Syria a month before the battle for Gaza began.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed the allegations of Hamas-Iran cooperation as "baseless fabrication," and denied Hamas fighters had been trained in Iran.

The chairman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council admitted to Newsweek magazine, however, that Iran indeed supports Hamas.

“We do support Hizballah and Hamas; that is right. But these two are not terrorist groups. These are the two groups that are defending their own land,” Ali Larijani said in an interview published on Friday.

Larijani scoffed at American, Israeli and international efforts to bolster Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“Have the Americans seen any miracle coming out of the support they have given to Abbas?” he asked.

Tirawi, meanwhile, warned that Hamas is stockpiling weapons in the West Bank and might try to target Palestinian government installations there.

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