Israeli military officials say that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Hamas terrorists recently left Gaza to receive advanced military training in Iran. The training is similar to that received by thousands of Hezbollah terrorists over the past few years, and Israel fears it will greatly improve Hamas' military capability in any future battle with IDF troops.
The mass training of Hamas fighters in Iran is a new development reflecting the growing alliance between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Hamas movement. Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh returned last week from Iran, which has already funded the cash-strapped Palestinian government with $120 million and pledged millions more.
Abu Obayda, a spokesman for Hamas, declined to confirm whether they were training in Iran. "But I confirm that we have the right to train inside or outside the country," he said.