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Senior Hamas official says Iran, Hezbollah had no role in Israel incursion, but will help if needed
A senior official with the Palestinian militant group Hamas says only a small number of top commanders in Gaza knew about the surprise attack launched into Israel over the weekend
BEIRUT (AP) — A senior Hamas official on Monday said only a small number of top commanders inside Gaza knew about the wide-ranging incursion launched into Israel, but that allies like Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”
Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, spoke to The Associated Press in his Beirut office as Israel bombarded Gaza and vowed a total blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.
The surprise attack on Saturday caught Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence services completely off guard, as hundreds of Hamas gunmen poured through holes blown in the border fence and rampaged through several towns, killing hundreds of soldiers and civilians, and capturing scores of others.
Barakeh said the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even the group’s closest allies were not informed in advance about the timing. He denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or gave the go-ahead at a meeting last week in Beirut.