A senior Hamas official said if Gaza were subjected to “a war of annihilation,” allies such as Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah “would join the battle.”

Ali Barakeh, a member of Hamas’ exiled leadership, shared the remarks during an interview with The Associated Press at his office in Beirut.

The statement was made amid Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and its declaration of a complete blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory following a surprise attack Saturday that caught Israel’s military and intelligence services completely off guard. It has resulted in the worst military bombardment of the Jewish state in 50 years.

Hundreds of Hamas militants entered by land, sea and air, resulting in the massacre of hundreds of soldiers and civilians, with dozens more taken captive, including women, children and the infirm.

Barakeh claimed that the attack had been planned by approximately six senior Hamas commanders in Gaza and that even their closest allies were unaware of the timing beforehand.

He refuted reports suggesting that Iranian security officials had helped orchestrate the attack or had given approval during a meeting in Beirut the previous week.

The development came after a joint statement issued on Monday by the United States and four European allies, where they reaffirmed their support for Israel. The leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Britain emphasized their solidarity with Israel while condemning Hamas.

“We make clear that the terrorist actions of Hamas have no justification, no legitimacy, and must be universally condemned. There is never any justification for terrorism,” read the statement.

Source » iranintl