Unprecedented Iranian address to Palestinians; secret meetings; cyberattacks.
Iran’s president has delivered an unprecedented speech to an annual pro-Palestinian rally in the Gaza Strip — a display of Iran’s importance to the Hamas militant group that rules the territory.
In a virtual address to hundreds of supporters of Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group gathered at a soccer field, Ebrahim Raisi urged Palestinians to press on with their struggle against Israel.
“The initiative to self-determination is today in the hands of the Palestinian fighters,” Raisi said, dismissing Hamas’ domestic political rival, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which has long sought to win Palestinian statehood through negotiations with Israel. The Palestinian Authority administers autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The address is one of a number of moves increasing Israeli concerns about Iran.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned this week that Iran is waging war against Israel on multiple fronts.
He said Iran is “continuing its attempts to establish itself on the northern front and at the same time sending its proxies to Judea, Samaria and Gaza.”
“[The IDF has] acted and will continue to act in all arenas, in overt and covert operations along the border, across the border, and even far from the border” to protect Israelis, he said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force has also held a series of secret meetings with militant leaders across the Middle East in recent weeks, aimed at instigating a fresh wave of attacks against Israel.
Maj. Gen. Esmail Qaani met with the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, the paper reported.
Around the same time militants in southern Lebanon fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, the largest such attack since the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
Israel also experienced cyberattacks, which coincided with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which is observed in Iran and other Shiite communities with anti-Israel demonstrations.
Israel’s National Cyber Directorate announced last Friday that it had identified and blocked several attacks on websites of Israeli banks. A hacker group called “Anonymous Sudan” took responsibility for the attack.
Iran is waging a multi-front war of attrition against Israel, Gallant says (Jerusalem Post)
The IDF will act “in all arenas, even far from [Israel’s borders],” the Defence Minister said in a Sunday night memorial ceremony.
The Iran-led bloc senses an opportunity to threaten Israeli life (Jerusalem Post)
BEHIND THE LINES: Does Iran see an opportunity in the cracks in Israeli society?
Photo: Palestinians watch a pre-recorded speech by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Al-Quds (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)