- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 16, 2021

The commander of Iran’s elite military Quds Force is promising strong backing for the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement in its escalating military clash with Israel, Iran’s state media reported over the weekend.

Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Qaani, who heads the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas force, spoke by phone with Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, praising what he called the “resistance forces’ successful confrontation with the Zionist enemy.” The call was reported Sunday by the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

The report did not say what concrete steps Tehran may be considering to aid Hamas, which Iran has long supported.

Hamas officials on Saturday vowed to keep up a rocket campaign targeting Israel’s interior in the wake of Israeli airstrikes that have targeted buildings and residential areas in the densely populated Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took part in a emergency virtual  summit of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday, denouncing what he called “the most heinous crimes being perpetrated against our brothers and sisters by Zionist forces in occupied Palestine.”

“The sole aim of Israel’s hypocritical gestures is to divide Muslims and isolate the people of Palestine,” Mr. Zarif said in his address to the summit. “Make no mistake: Israel only understands the language of resistance and the people of Palestine are fully entitled to the right to defend themselves and to defy the bullying of this racist regime.”

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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