Iran says that Hamas is targeting Iron Dome sites and airports
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Iran is telegraphing how Hamas has planned and executed its war on Israel. Since the first rocket was fired on Jerusalem on Monday, Hamas has set the pace and tempo of this conflict. It appears to be a plan that has been in place for years – and may have had guidance directly from Iran.
Hamas tactics are similar to the Houthis in Yemen, who are also backed by Tehran. Hamas has used new drones, based on an Iranian model that the Houthis use, and has targeted airports as the Houthis do in Saudi Arabia. This may be a new Iran proxy-war doctrine: Iran’s Press TV appears to admit as much. Iran has long backed Hamas with technological advice for rockets, weapons and cash.
On Friday, Press TV, an Iran government channel, said that “the Palestinian Islamic Resistance movement Hamas says it has targeted the Israeli regime’s Iron Dome stations and an Israeli air base, which is used by Israeli warplanes to bombard civilian targets in the besieged Gaza Strip.”
The fact that Hamas has “targeted” Iron Dome batteries builds on claims that it was trying to overwhelm Israel’s defense capabilities by firing up to 130 rockets in various barrages at Ashkelon. Hamas in the past has used rockets with long ranges but has not usually appeared to use them tactically en masse to go after targets in more than a desultory manner.
What that means is that in the past, Hamas would do things like threaten to strike Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and then execute a missile attack. But it would do this in a limited and symbolic manner. This conflict appears to be different. It also appears different because Hamas rocket fire is not in response to IDF strikes: it is the terror group driving the conflict.
“We fired a volley of Sejjil missiles at the Hatzerim air base from which the occupation warplanes flew to bomb civilians in Gaza,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, said in a statement on Thursday night, according to Palestinian media and Press TV.
“The group said it also attacked a chemical factory in Nahal Oz kibbutz in the Negev desert with Shehab suicide drones,” Press TV says. This is a big deal and appears modelled on how the Houthis have used drones to strike Saudi Arabian infrastructure. Iran also attacked Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing facility. In March, the Houthis struck the Ras Tanura oil hub, for instance: This is the Hamas equivalent.
Hamas also targeted Israel’s airports. It said on Thursday it was aiming at the Ramon airport near Eilat. It even provided warning before firing the rockets. Hamas said the following: “In the name of God and by order of Chief of Staff of al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Khaled Muhammad al-Deif, an Ayyash missile was fired towards Ramon Airport – located about 220 kilometers (136 miles) south of the Gaza Strip – in southern [occupied] Palestine. The missile weighs 250 kilograms (550 pounds), and has a range of more than 250 kilometers as well as a high destructive force.”
Now Iran is warning that Hamas has new surprises awaiting Israel. Hamas is warning Israel against a ground invasion, saying it will be a trap. Iran is watching the conflict closely and says it shows that the balance of power has shifted against Israel.
Last Thursday and Friday, Iranian officials, the IRGC and Ayatollah Khamenei said that Israel was in decline and that one tactical blow could defeat Israel. It now appears this has been the blow Iran was talking about. Iran is also pleased that foreign airlines have cancelled flights to Israel. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has thanked Iran for its support.