Hundreds of members for the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas reportedly underwent specialized military training in Iran in the weeks preceding their Oct. 7 attack on Israel, according to persons with knowledge of intelligence surrounding the operation.
The witnesses added that the September exercises, which were headed by officials of the Quds Force, the external operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, involved some 500 militants from Hamas and an affiliated organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
They added that Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the commander of the Quds Force, along with senior Palestinian officials were present.
Over 1,400 people were killed on October 7 by Hamas fighters who flooded the border from the Gaza Strip, the majority of them were civilians.
Numerous individuals were abducted and returned to Gaza, where they are now being kept captive.
Aerial drones were utilized by Hamas militants to take down Israeli observation posts and sophisticated monitoring apparatus. Some entered Israel via paragliding.
Others rode motorcycles, which are rarely utilized by Hamas but are frequently used by Iranian paramilitary units as of October 7.
Although there have been no signs of a mass training just prior to the attack, U.S. authorities claimed that Iran regularly trains jihadists both inside and outside of Iran.
There is a chance that the war will escalate into a regional conflict with Iran and the network of Islamist militant groups that are anti-Israel and that extend from Yemen and Iraq to Syria and Lebanon.
Additionally, the US has dispatched troops into the area, including two carrier battle groups.