JERUSALEM, Israel - Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper reports that Hamas wants to strengthen its relationship with Iran and its proxies to fight the United States and Israel.
A Hamas delegation met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Monday. The terror group thanked the Islamic regime for its help in fighting Israel and expressed its desire to establish a military alliance with the "Axis of Resistance"– an anti-Israel and anti-Western alliance between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.
Hamas hopes the alliance would help it confront attacks in a coordinated manner.
The delegation is headed by Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas' political wing. During the meeting, Al-Arouri gave Khamenei a letter from Ismail Haniyeh, the senior political leader of Hamas. In the letter, Haniyeh thanked Iran for "its efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause" and asked for more aid to "face the suffocating Israeli siege."
Hamas also promised to help Iran in the event of war. Haniyeh was unable to attend the meeting with the supreme leader because Egypt refused to allow him to leave Gaza Strip.
Al-Monitor reports that Al-Arouri promised Khamenei that "Hamas will be Iran's first line of defense in the shadow of the recent aggression of the West" and that "any enemy of Iran is an enemy of Palestine and of the opposition axis."
After the meeting, Khamenei vowed to continue giving Hamas economic and military aid because "victory over the enemy will only be achieved through struggle and resistance," he said.
"Only a few years ago the Palestinians fought the Zionist enemy with stones, and today they are equipped with precise missiles," Khamenei continued.
The Iranian leader also condemned the Trump administration's so-called "Deal of the Century" Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
An Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that Israeli leaders should be concerned about Hamas' meeting with Iran.
"Israel will need to closely examine what took place this week within Hamas," the source said, adding that Hamas' close relationship with Iran "means one thing only, as far as Israel is concerned."
"It means that Hamas commits itself to fulfilling Tehran's demands and pleasing Tehran's leaders for assured assistance. Khamenei promises precise missiles, money and extended assistance and in exchange, Hamas commits itself to manning the front lines. It's that simple."