Hamas official claims Iran, Hezbollah didn’t help plan attack, but may yet join fight

The Times of Israel reports: “A senior Hamas official on Monday said only a small number of top commanders inside Gaza knew about the wide-ranging surprise assault on 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’s exiled leadership, spoke in his Beirut office as Israel bombarded Gaza in retaliatory strikes, and vowed a total blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

The devastating attack on Saturday caught Israel’s vaunted military and intelligence services completely off guard, as hundreds of Hamas gunmen poured through holes blown in the border fence and rampaged through several towns, killing over 900 soldiers and civilians, and capturing over 100 others.

Barakeh said the attack was planned by around a half dozen top Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even the group’s closest allies were not informed in advance about the timing. He denied reports that Iranian security officials helped plan the attack or gave the go-ahead at a meeting last week in Beirut.

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

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