LONDON, Aug. 15 (JTA) — Iranian intelligence recently transferred some $5 million to Hamas to fund terrorist attacks on Israeli targets, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper here. The money, reportedly paid into the accounts of Hamas officials in Jordan in late July, was the first in a series of monthly payments being made in return for terrorist activities against Israel. Iran’s decision to increase its support for Hamas was said to have contributed to a decision by Israeli authorities last week to impose a closure on a number of Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank that are considered to be Hamas strongholds. The paper said a combination of uncompromising security measures adopted by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a wide-ranging crackdown on Hamas by the Palestinian Authority had forced Hamas to curtail its operations against Israel. It notes that Iran is particularly interested in forging an alliance with Hamas leaders based in Syria and Lebanon, following a rift between the more radical and more moderate leaderships of Hamas. Despite openings to the West by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, the Iranian regime remains opposed to any diplomatic accommodation with Israel. A recent series of meetings in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum between Iranian intelligence officials and Hamas representatives — principally from Lebanon and Syria — concluded that any attempt to negotiate peace between Israel and the Arabs was “contrary to the laws of humanity.” The Khartoum encounters reportedly resolved to launch terrorist attacks designed to thwart the peace process with the Palestinians. Support for renewed Islamic militancy by Hamas is also understood to be perceived in Tehran as a way of deflecting attention from ongoing tensions between conservative and moderate elements within Iran.
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