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Sinwar: Iran is Hamas’ Largest Backer Financially, Militarily | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yehya al-Sinwar (Reuters)

London, Gaza– Hamas has managed to increase its military capabilities recently and Tehran is again its biggest backer after years of tension, according to Hamas’ leader in Gaza Strip Yehya al-Sinwar.

Sinwar told reporters that Iran is now “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s armed wing.

It was his first meeting with journalists since taking up his post in February.

“Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms,” Sinwar said in a meeting in his office in the strip.

Sinwar said that with Iran’s help, Hamas is accumulating military power in preparation for a battle for the liberation of Palestine.

“This will be reflected in the resistance and in the agenda to achieve the liberation,” he said.

Sinwar stated that the relationship today is developing and returning to what it was in the old days.

“The Iranian military support to Hamas and al-Qassam is strategic,” he added, saying the “relationship had become fantastic and returned to its former era.”

In August, a Hamas delegate attended the inauguration of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in Tehran. The group issued a statement saying it had received an official invitation to attend the ceremony.

Sinwar, a former Hamas security chief who had spent 23 years in Israeli jails, said the group is always preparing for a possible war with Israel. But he said such a conflict was not in Hamas’s strategic interests at the moment.

“We are not interested in a war, we do not want war and we want to push it backward as much as we could so that our people will relax and take their breath and in the same time we are building our power,” he said.

He reiterated that Hamas does not fear war and is fully ready for it, adding that the 54 detainees who had been recaptured must be freed. He informed the media that several Arab and international parties contacted Hamas for mediation and the organization had informed them its stance.

Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine,” Sinwar said, but he also stressed that it does not seek war for now “and takes every effort to avoid a war. At the same time we are not afraid of a war and are ready for it.”

Hamas leader stated that the group is building missiles and continuing its training everyday. He added that thousands of people are working day and night to prepare for the next conflict.

Sinwar also stated that the group doesn’t mind reestablishing relations with Syria as long as it is done within the right time to avoid being included in a “war of axes.”

Sinwar described the relations with Qatar and Turkey as “excellent”.

Relations with Cairo have improved dramatically, Sinwar said, adding that Hamas is open to contact all regional parties.

“We will knock on all the doors, except that of the (Israeli) occupation, to resolve the problems,” he said.