by Ari Soffer
Iran's Deputy Chief of Staff claims 'military advisers' providing support to 'Palestinian resistance movement' on the ground.
Hamas terrorists in Gaza
Speaking to a group of senior military officers in Tehran on Saturday, Major General Gholam Ali Rashid appraised the extensive support Iran was providing for its proxies throughout the region.
"Some of our commanders are in the field to give military advice to the Iraqi army, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance movement," he said, according to the semi-official Fars News.
Iran has long been a key sponsor of terrorism against Israel, providing funding and arms to a wide range of Palestinian terrorist groups - most notably Hamas and Islamic Jihad - as well as to its largest and most powerful regional proxy, Lebanese Hezbollah.
Regionally, Tehran also funds, trains and even sends special forces to fight alongside a growing array of Shia Islamist militias. In Iraq and Syria, those militias - such as the Abbas Brigades, Iraqi Hezbollah and the notoriously brutal Asaib Ahl al-Haq - are playing a key role in propping up the Iranian-allied regimes in both those countries against Sunni rebels.
Iran has also provided training to Palestinian terrorists in the past via training camps in Iran or Syria, but Rashid's words appeared to indicate that Iranian operatives were on the ground - most likely in Gaza - to provide "military advice" there as well.
An Iranian presence in Gaza would not be hard to imagine, given that Tehran has invested considerably in both the territory's Hamas rulers and its major rival, Islamic Jihad. And although a high-profile falling out between Hamas and Tehran over the Syrian civil war resulted in a serious deterioration in their relationship, recent months have seen a limited rehabilitation of those ties.
The reports come just over a month after the commander of Iran's state paramilitary force, the Basij, boasted that Tehran was actively arming terrorists in Judea and Samaria.
Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi also claimed that most of the arms used by Hamas in its 50-day war against Israel this past summer were Iranian-made.
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