October 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Attacks on Israel Part of Iran’s Ring of Fire Strategy 

October 8, 2023 | Flash Brief

Attacks on Israel Part of Iran’s Ring of Fire Strategy 

Latest Developments   

Citing senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, the Wall Street Journal reported on October 8 that Iranian security officials authorized and helped plan the Hamas-led attack on Israel. The plot to attack Israel reflects an Iranian strategy to encircle Israel with armed groups, instigate turmoil, and promote acts of terrorism. Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist factions are financially supported, trained, and equipped with weapons provided by Iran.

Iranian officials gave the greenlight for the assault during an October 2 meeting in Beirut. In the preceding weeks, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) collaborated with Hamas to plan invasions by air, land, and sea. The operation’s particulars were fine-tuned over the course of numerous meetings in Beirut that were convened by IRGC officers and representatives from four Iran-supported factions, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Expert Analysis  

“Iran’s supreme leader has a long-standing strategy to surround Israel on every border with massive weapons and fighters. He aims to use terror to make Israel unlivable. He hopes to kill as many Israelis as possible while driving out those afraid to remain. Despite their horrendous losses yesterday, Israelis are more united than they have been in years. What will defeat Khamenei’s strangulation strategy is an Israeli public that values life. In contrast, its enemies in Tehran, Gaza City, Beirut, and throughout the Iranian regime axis only value death.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Iran has employed a strategic approach: playing the long game by providing arms and financial resources to terrorist groups located on the borders of Israel. This scheme has achieved success on at least one front. As a looming possibility of a regional conflict persists, Iran’s proxies on Israel’s other borders would probably commence offensive actions.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Iran Convening Terrorists in Lebanon

Since the May 2021 Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, evidence has surfaced to indicate that Iran has facilitated the establishment of a joint operations room in Lebanon to coordinate efforts between the IRGC and Iranian-backed terror organizations Hezbollah and Hamas.

In May 2018, then-Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Danny Danon wrote a letter to the UN secretary-general and to the UN Security Council president warning of the growing cooperation among Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran. While the letter was not made public at the time, a copy was shared with FDD. In the letter, Danon noted that Hamas has been covertly building a military force in Lebanon, which could “pull Lebanon into a conflict with Israel.”

Before last month’s meeting in Beirut, Palestinian terrorist leaders met with Iranian leaders on numerous occasions. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders during a visit to Syria in May, where Raisi reportedly called for “unity and cohesion of the resistance forces.” The following month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Raisi met with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in Tehran, where the Iranians congratulated Islamic Jihad’s leaders for its attack on Israel a month earlier and urged both groups to cooperate.

Nineteen Iranian-Backed Terrorist Groups

According to an FDD tracker, Iran has built a network of at least 19 armed groups on Israel’s borders, including in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. The largest of these organizations are Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. These groups and others receive funding, training, and weapons from the IRGC. According to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Iran sends $100 million annually to Hamas, $700 million annually to Hezbollah, and tens of millions to Islamic Jihad. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups also use Iranian technology and logistical support to produce arms locally such as rockets and drones. What Hamas does not produce it smuggles into the Mediterranean enclave from tunnels under its border with Egypt.

Generation Jihad Ep. 101 — Israel: This is not a conflict. This is a war,” by Bill Roggio and Joe Truzman 

Hamas Takes Israelis and Foreign Nationals Hostage,” FDD Flash Brief 

U.S. to Release $6 Billion to Iran in Exchange for Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics