October 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Fighters Trained with Iranian Forces Before Israel Attack 

October 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Fighters Trained with Iranian Forces Before Israel Attack 

Latest Developments

Hundreds of Hamas terrorists received specialized combat training in Iran before attacking Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported on October 25. Intelligence sources said that officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force trained approximately 500 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists from the Gaza Strip. According to the report, senior Palestinian officials and Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani attended the training.

On October 23, Maj. Gen. Michael Edelstein, a retired former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Gaza Division commander now working with the IDF’s Southern Command due to the war, alluded to evidence of Iran’s involvement during a press conference but did not provide specific evidence. U.S. officials have denied that Iran is directly connected to the attack.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas fighters have been training alongside Iran’s IRGC since the early 1990s. This is nothing new. Today’s revelation is only the latest chapter in a long history of Iranian support for Hamas. But the revelation is vitally important in the sense that it offers proof of Iran’s hand in the October 7 massacre, not to mention the regional crisis that continues to rock the Middle East.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“The administration needs to end the fiction that Iran isn’t complicit in the October 7 massacre. It’s time for Washington to end the era of U.S. appeasement of Iran by locking down all funds available to Tehran, enforcing oil sanctions, and triggering the snapback of UN sanctions.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

IRGC Leads Iran’s Terrorist Outreach

The IRGC, Iran’s expeditionary force that answers directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has long been known to provide funding, arms, training, and planning assistance to a variety of terror groups. These include Hamas, PIJ, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen.

While Iran provides Hamas with financial, material, and planning assistance, the Gaza Strip’s isolation from the rest of the region makes direct training more difficult. The only way fighters can leave the coastal enclave is through the Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt or an underground tunnel that Egypt has not detected. Still, Hamas operatives who live outside of Gaza — splitting their time between Lebanon, Turkey, and Qatar — meet and maintain close ties with IRGC officials.

Iran Helped Plot Attack

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian officials had greenlit Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel during an October 2 meeting in Beirut. The IRGC advised Hamas on its invasion plans during several meetings, The Journal reported.

Following the May 2021 war between Israel and Hamas, evidence has surfaced indicating that Tehran had facilitated the establishment of a joint operations room in Lebanon to coordinate efforts with Iran-backed terrorist groups in the region. The Islamic Republic may have used this center to support for Hamas during that conflict, and Tehran could do the same during the current war.

Attacks on Israel Part of Iran’s Ring of Fire Strategy,” FDD Flash Brief

It’s the hidden hand of Khamenei’s regime in Iran that set the Middle East ablaze — and will trigger all-out war,” by Mark Dubowitz

Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq and Syria Continue Attacks on U.S. Troops,” FDD Flash Brief


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