June 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas and Islamic Jihad Meet Iranian Leaders in Tehran

June 20, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas and Islamic Jihad Meet Iranian Leaders in Tehran

Latest Developments

Leaders of the Iran-backed Palestinian terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad (IJ) both met this week with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh met with Raisi on June 20, updated Raisi on the situation in Gaza and the West Bank, and thanked him for Iran’s support. Haniyeh had arrived in Iran on June 19, accompanied by a delegation including Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri, and met the same day with Ali Akbar Ahmadian, Iran’s newly appointed Supreme National Security Council secretary.

Also on June 19, the Lebanon-based IJ chief Ziad Nakhaleh — in Tehran since last week — visited Raisi. Five days earlier, Nakhaleh met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who congratulated Nakhaleh on IJ’s “victory” over Israel during their conflict in early May. “The Zionist enemy,” Khamenei said, “is in a position of passivity and reaction, and this situation shows that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and resistance groups have correctly identified the path and are moving forward in this direction with prudence.”

Expert Analysis

“It is no coincidence the leaders of two Palestinian terrorist organizations are concurrently in Tehran meeting with their chief benefactor. To bring terror to Israelis and undermine the Palestinian Authority, Iran has made it a strategic priority to arm and fund Palestinian terrorist organizations in the West Bank. While Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian factions play a significant role in the more than two-year armed West Bank uprising, Iranian support is ultimately the most critical contributor to the violence.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“Iran remains the primary patron for both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The regime traditionally provides cash, weapons, training, and other key assistance. In recent years, this assistance also includes coordination between terror groups, with the goal of forging a seamless terror coalition fighting against Israel, backed by tactics and strategy that gives the groups a better chance of striking blows at Israel. This coordination only appears to be deepening.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Financed by Iran

Nakhaleh said during an April 19 interview that Iran provides Hamas with around $150 million annually, totaling billions of dollars over the last 30 years. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said that Iran also provides tens of millions of dollars to the smaller IJ.

Arouri Recruits Terrorists in West Bank

The meeting in Iran coincided with a terrorist attack near the West Bank city of Eli, where two Hamas-affiliated gunmen killed four people and left another four wounded during a shooting at a gas station. Hamas and IJ gunmen clashed with Israeli forces in Jenin a day earlier.

Arouri has been Hamas’ point man in the West Bank, where the terrorist group’s influence has grown due to the weakness of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority. Arouri has actively recruited Hamas members in the territory, causing a spike in violence. Arouri has also led Hamas’ buildup of its military infrastructure in Lebanon with the help of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, aiming to draw Israel into a multifront conflict.

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

Iran’s Multifront Strategy Against Israel,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Palestinian Terrorists Kill At Least Four in West Bank Shooting,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Deploys Helicopter to West Bank Clash,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics