Saturday, July 13, 2024

No evidence of direct Iran role in Hamas military operation: Pentagon

The United States has no evidence of direct Iranian involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said, noting however that Tehran has backed the group for years.

“But in this particular instance, we don’t have any evidence that there was direct involvement in the planning or the execution of this attack,” Austin told journalists.

That assessment was echoed by the US State Department, which emphasised that it could change.

“Our experience in these matters tells us that it’s premature to draw any final conclusions about this issue,” spokesman Matthew Miller stressed.

“We’ll be looking at additional intelligence in the coming weeks and days to inform our thinking on this issue, including whether at least there were some in the Iranian system who either had a clearer sense of what was coming or even contributed to aspects of the planning.”

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also said Tuesday Iran is “complicit, in a broad sense”, in Hamas’ attack on Israel, there is no intelligence that indicates Tehran specifically offered support for the unprecedented assault,

“We’ve said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in a broad sense because they have provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas, they’ve provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support and they’ve had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years, and all of that that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen,” Sullivan stated.

“Now, as to the question of whether Iran knew about this attack in advance or helped plan or direct this attack, we do not, as of the moment I’m standing here at the podium, have confirmation of that.”

Sullivan told reporters that the administration was engaged with its Israeli counterparts and “looking back through our intelligence holdings to see if we have any further information on that”, adding, “If there’s an update to that, I’ll share it with you.”

“But as I stand here today, while Iran plays this broad role, this sustained, deep and dark role in providing all of this support and capabilities to Hamas, in terms of this particular gruesome attack on October 7, we don’t currently have that information,” he noted.

Pressed on why Israel was unable to anticipate Hamas’ attack on Israel, Sullivan referred questions to Israeli officials.

For America’s part, he stated, “We did not see anything that suggested an attack of this type was going to unfold any more than the Israelis did.”

Earlier, Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed that Tehran was not involved in the Hamas attack on Israel.

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