23 May 2024, 16:48

Heads of Iran-allied militant groups meet in Tehran

TEHRAN, May 23, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Leaders of the Iran-led, so-called "axis of
resistance", including Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh, discussed the war in Gaza
during a meeting in Tehran on the sidelines of president Ebrahim Raisi's
funeral, state media reported Thursday.

The "axis of resistance" brings together Iran's regional allies in the fight
against Israel, including the Palestinian movement Hamas, Lebanon's
Hezbollah, Yemen's Huthis and Iraqi Shiite armed groups.

The leaders of these movements met Wednesday after attending ceremonies
organised in Tehran to pay tribute to Raisi, who died Sunday in a helicopter
crash in northwest Iran.

The meeting was attended by Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's Qatar-based
political bureau, as well as Hezbollah deputy Naim Qassem and Huthi spokesman
Mohammed Abdulsalam.

Haniyeh had also previously had an audience with Iran's supreme leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian officials meanwhile included General Hossein Salami, commander of the
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as General Esmail Qaani, commander
of the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the guards.

They discussed "the latest political, social and military situation in Gaza
and the Al-Aqsa Flood operation and the role of the resistance front," state
broadcaster IRIB reported.

The meeting reportedly stressed "the continuation of jihad and struggle until
the complete victory of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza with the
participation of all resistance groups and fronts in the region", IRIB said.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar channel also reported the meeting, broadcasting photos.

Iran's Fars news agency said representatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Iraqi groups were also
present at the meeting.

Since the start of the war in Gaza in October, Iran's foreign minister
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who also died in the helicopter accident, had
increased his trips to the region, particularly to Lebanon and Syria.

Iran is a key backer of Hamas, but has repeatedly denied involvement in the
Palestinian group's October 7 attack on Israel.


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