RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) Iran played a “big role” in Hamas’s seizure of Gaza from Palestinian security forces earlier this month, Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfiq al-Tirawi charged on Sunday.
“According to our information, Iran has played a big role in what happened in Gaza. Dozens of members of Hamas have been trained in Iran, and Hamas smuggled in weapons through tunnels not to fight Israel but against the Palestinian Authority,” Tirawi told a news conference.
“The whole plan has been carried out in coordination with Iran, and Iran has been informed of every step,” he added.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas previously accused “foreign elements from the region” of orchestrating Hamas’s bloody takeover, but it was the first time that a senior official explicitly blamed Iran.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit last week accused Iran of having encouraged the Palestinian Islamist movement to seize the neighbouring Gaza Strip.