Hamas gave a rare account of the military training its fighters receive in Iran and Syria.
Britain’s Sunday Times ran an exclusive interview with an unnamed Hamas commander in which he revealed that the radical Palestinian Islamist group has been sending men abroad for training since Israel quit the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Hundreds of Hamas’ “best brains” have left Gaza for Egypt, and from there have flown to Damascus, the commander said. Some stayed in Syria for training and others went on to neighboring Iran, with border authorities waiving visa requirements so as to avoid a paper trail.
At Iranian-sponsored camps, the Hamas men learn guerrilla tactics such as sniping and bomb building, as well as how to improve improvised rockets produced at Gaza’s underground arms factories.
Israel has long accused Iran and Syria of helping Hamas, but Egypt has largely distanced itself from the allegations rather than publicly admit that its territory is being used as a conduit.