Nasrallah, Hamas: Israel ‘tested’ Gaza factions ahead of possible Iran strike

Hezbollah leader meets top Islamist group figures in Lebanon; according to local newspaper, they claimed Israel instigated latest round of violence in south to gauge terrorists’ readiness to take part in regional conflict

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah met with senior Hamas figures on Monday to discuss regional developments, Lebanese newspaper Al-Sapir reported.

Hassan Nasrallah Photo: EPA

Hassan Nasrallah - Photo: EPA

According to the report, published Wednesday, Hamas’ delegation was headed by Deputy Politburo Chief Moussa Abu Marzouk. The meeting in Lebanon focused on the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza, the uprising in Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood’s ties to Hezbollah and Iran.

The report said that during the meeting Hamas’ leaders and the head of the Lebanese Shiite group agreed to launch a number of joint projects aimed at dealing with the crisis in Syria and boosting relations with the Muslim Brotherhood amid the recent developments in the Arab world.

A Lebanese source told Al-Sapir that despite the rift between Hamas and President Bashar Assad’s regime, Nasrallah and the Islamist group’s representatives agreed that military intervention in Syria would not resolve the crisis. They called for the introduction of political reforms in Syria, in accordance with a Russian initiative that is also backed by Iran and China.

According to the report, Nasrallah told the Hamas representatives that Syria’s leadership is interested in bringing an end to the fighting with opposition forces – should they agree to a political solution. The Hezbollah leader called on the parties in Syria to reach an agreement similar to the one that ended the civil war in Lebanon.

 

‘Israel instigated violence’

Nasrallah and the Hamas representatives also agreed to cooperate on efforts to improve the relations between Iran and the Arab countries.

During the meeting, which took place before the ceasefire between Israel and the armed factions in Gaza went into effect, the sides accused the Jewish state of instigating the violence in order to test the Palestinian terror groups’ readiness to engage in a conflict with Israel in case a regional war breaks out following an attack on Iran.

Last month Nasrallah’s deputy, Sheikh Naim Kassem, warned that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would ignite a regional war. He said the Shiite group’s operatives were better equipped and better trained than they were during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. However, Kassem did not say whether Hezbollah would attack Israel in the event of a strike in Iran.

The Lebanese source told the newspaper that Hezbollah and Hamas agreed to hold additional meetings to coordinate the planned mass march on Israel’s borders, which is scheduled for the end of March.

During the latest round of violence, Palestinian terrorists launched some 250 rockets and mortars toward Israel. In response to the rocket fire, the IDF launched dozens of strikes in Gaza. The Palestinians said 26 people were killed in these attacks.

 

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Elior Levy

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