Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles. Pictured: A barrage of rockets launched toward towns in Israel by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations from the Gaza Strip early on May 12, 2021. (Photo by Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)
The Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organization announced on May 11 that its members fired a burst of "Badr-3" missiles into Israel, killing two women and injuring dozens others. The announcement was made by PIJ's military wing, Al-Quds Brigades, after the group and other terror factions in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas, fired hundreds of rockets into Israel within 24 hours.
The "Badr-3" missile is an Iranian-made missile that appeared for the first time on the battlefields of the Middle East in April 2019, when the Iranian-backed Houthi militia used it during the fighting in war-torn Yemen.
The "Badr-3" missile carries an explosive warhead weighing 250 kg, and has a range of more than 160 km, according to Debka, an Israeli website that reports on military issues. "The missile explodes within 20m of target and releases a 1,400-piece shower of shrapnel fragments," the website reported.
PIJ was the first terrorist organization to use the Iranian missile against Israel in 2019.
Until a few years ago, PIJ, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups used to receive rockets and other weapons directly from Iran -- smuggled in by sea or across the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. For some years now, however, according to Israeli intelligence sources, these terrorist groups have used years of experience with Iranian and other rockets to develop their own versions.
Over the past 15 years, Iran became the most dominant weapon supplier to Hamas and PIJ. The major smuggling route was from Iran to Sudan, on to Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, and from there to the Gaza Strip. These weapons include long range rockets, mortar shells, anti-tank missiles, tons of standard explosives and raw materials for explosive production.
Last year, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted for the first time that his country was supplying the Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons. "Iran realized Palestinian fighters' only problem was lack of access to weapons," Khamenei said in an online speech.
"With divine guidance and assistance, we planned, and the balance of power has been transformed in Palestine, and today the Gaza Strip can stand against the aggression of the Zionist enemy and defeat it."
Khamenei went on to offer the reason why Iran was sending rockets, missiles and tons of explosives to the Gaza Strip: "The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous tumor in the region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed."
Khamenei's admission shows how the mullahs in Tehran have been lying to the West for many years. In 2011, Mohammad Khazaee, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations, sent a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council in which he vehemently denied that Iran was smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects the allegations concerning the so-called smuggling of advanced weapons into the Gaza Strip, which are based on false and misleading information provided by the Zionist regime. Iran's support for the peoples of Palestine has been of a moral, humanitarian and political nature."
The denial exposes the extent of Iran's scheme to deceive the international community not only regarding its supply of weapons to the Palestinian terrorist groups, but also concerning its plan to acquire nuclear weapons and bolster its production of nuclear material.
So while the Obama administration was sending $400 million of cash to Iran, the Iranians were continuing to supply rockets and missiles to their proxies in the Gaza Strip so that they could use them to destroy the "Zionist entity."
In 2015, the Obama administration, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany reached a deal with Iran, whereby it agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Iran, however, repeatedly violated the terms of the nuclear deal, according to the UN's nuclear monitoring Atomic Energy Agency.
The same Iran that lied about the smuggling of the weapons into the Gaza Strip also managed to deceive the US and the world powers regarding its willingness to adhere to the nuclear deal.
Last month, a report published by the Israeli Walla news website revealed that in 2006, Iran opened a route to smuggle missiles and ammunition to the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip through Yemen and Sudan. The smuggling operations were led by Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was assassinated by Israel in 2010.
On April 9, Mahmoud Mardawi, a Hamas leader and former member of the group's military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam Brigades, told the Al-Monitor news website:
"Hamas wants to explore all sources of military supplies from every country and movement, mainly from Iran. We will not stop knocking on doors to find parties to provide us with weapons."
An arms smuggler who deals with Hamas told Al-Monitor that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sent weapons to the Palestinian terrorist groups through the Suez Canal all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, where Iranian ships dock off the coast of the Gaza Strip in Egyptian territorial waters. When night sets, he revealed, Hamas frogmen transport the weapons in closed containers.
Earlier this year, the secretary-general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, disclosed that Qassem Soleimani, the slain commander of Iran's Quds Force, "personally" managed a complex operation to send weapons to the Gaza Strip. Nakhaleh said that Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone attack on January 3, 2020 near Baghdad International Airport in Iraq, traveled to several countries to supply weapons for the Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
Were it not for Iran's financial and military aid, the Palestinian terrorist groups would not have been able to attack Israel with thousands of rockets and missiles. Like their patrons in Tehran, Hamas and PIJ do not recognize Israel's right to exist and are committed to its destruction.
In the past, Iran used its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, to attack Israel. Iran is now using its Palestinian proxies to achieve its goal of eliminating Israel and killing Jews. This is a war not only between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist groups. Rather, it is a war waged by Iran against Israel.
The Western powers that are currently negotiating with Iran about the revival of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal are emboldening the mullahs and allowing them to continue their war of "kill[ing] all the Jews."
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.