Hamas official says ‘only a handful’ of terror group commanders knew of assault

A senior Hamas official says 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, speaks to The Associated Press in his Beirut office as Israel bombarded Gaza and vowed a total blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

“Only a handful of Hamas commanders knew about the zero hour,” Barakeh says, adding that no one from the central command or the political bureau of Hamas was in the Lebanese capital last week.

He acknowledges that Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group have helped Hamas in the past, but said that since the 2014 Gaza war Hamas has been producing its own rockets and training its own fighters.

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May 25, 2024