“This is an incident of a different dimension … It has given rise to review the policy.” From the World Tribune:
TEL AVIV “” The Israeli military has located Iranian trainers in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli military sources said Teheran has sent more than a dozen Iranians to train Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The sources said virtually all of the Iranians were of Palestinian origin and granted Iranian citizenship.
“These were Palestinians trained first by Hizbullah in Lebanon and then in Iran,” a military source said. “Many of these people provided training to Palestinians in Iran and were then sent to the Gaza Strip over the last 18 months.”
The source said the Iranians were helping Palestinian factions in the development of weapons and combat techniques. The Iranians were also responsible for selecting Palestinians for intensive training in Iran.
The Iranian presence in the Gaza Strip has promoted military tactics developed by Hizbullah. The sources said this included the use of missile and mortar salvos on Israeli military positions near the Gaza Strip as a cover for Palestinian abduction operations.
“We are hearing from [the military’s] Southern Command of a Hizbullah presence in the Gaza Strip,” Immigration Minister Zev Boim, a former deputy defense minister, said.
On April 24, Palestinian gunners fired salvos of eight missiles and five mortars into Israel. Despite threats of an invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military did not retaliate.
“This is an incident of a different dimension,” Defense Minister Amir Peretz said. “It has given rise to review the policy.”
Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant said Iranian trainers have been operating in the Gaza Strip. He said hundreds of Palestinians have also been sent to Iran for training.
In late 2006, Fatah-aligned Palestinian Authority security agencies said they captured several Iranians, including two generals from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Palestinian sources later said the claim was untrue.
It was not clear whether the Iranians were involved in the Fatah-Hamas militia war. Military sources said Iran has funded both Fatah and Hamas.