Hamas has sought to expand Iranian aid to the Palestinian movement.
Palestinian sources said Hamas leaders have been negotiating with Teheran to increase military and financial aid to the insurgency group.
They said that senior Hamas officials, led by Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Said Siyam, discussed the request during their visit to Teheran last week.
“Siyam said that without Iranian help, the war with Fatah could continue indefinitely,” a Palestinian source, who did not want to be further identified, said. “Siyam wants to essentially kick the Fatah militia out of Gaza.”
[On Saturday, the Israel Air Force struck a vehicle in Gaza City that was said to have been launching Kassam-class missiles into Israel. A military statement did not specify, but Palestinian sources said seven people were killed and 10 others were injured in the air strike.]
The sources said Siyam, accompanied by the head of the new PA Executive Force Yusef Zahar, has asked Iran to finance training of Hamas operatives.
They said Hamas wanted hundreds of fighters to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt, and from there make their way to Syria. From these countries, the operatives would be flown to Iran for training similar to that received by Hizbullah.
“The key is the Hizbullah model,” the source said. “Hamas wants to be treated on an equal footing with Hizbullah in regards to funding and training.”
Israel has confirmed Hamas’s request to Iran for additional aid. Israeli military sources said Hamas was preparing for a war with Israel and smuggled an unprecedented amount of weapons and explosives from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military has determined that Hamas and its allies have been receiving more than two tons of TNT per month from Sinai. The military sources also reported the arrival of at least 20 advanced anti-tank missiles in the Gaza Strip, which have already been used against Israeli troops in the area.
From Teheran, Siyam flew to Damascus and met Syrian leaders, including Interior Minister Bassam Abdul Majid. Palestinian sources said Siyam urged Syria to host training of PA forces.
“On Saturday, Syrian Interior Minister Bassam Abdul Majid discussed with his Palestinian counterpart, Said Siyam, existing cooperation between the two Interior Ministries including training cadres of the police force,” the official Syrian news agency, Sana, said on Saturday.
Hamas has sought to expel the Fatah militia from the Gaza Strip. On October 13th, 15 Palestinians were injured in a gunbattle between Fatah and Hamas in the northern Gaza town of Bet Lahiya. Most of the wounded were identified as bystanders.
Palestinian sources said Hamas controls much of the central and southernGaza Strip. Fatah, however, remains strong in Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip.
Fatah has assassinated Hamas military commander Majid Abu Drabiya, who headed the insurgency network in Bet Lahiya. On October 13, Hamas sought to attack Fatah commanders Samih Madhoun and Baha Jarad, responsible for northern Gaza.