Hizbullah confirms broad aid for Hamas

Deputy leader of group admits that Palestinians have been given "every type of support for some time."

naim kassem  298.88 (photo credit: AP)
naim kassem 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
In what seems to be a stark change in policy, Hizbullah has admitted to not only providing Hamas with "every type of support," but also to having done so for some time. "We have always said that we supported the resistance in Palestine, but we have not mentioned how or given details of such support," Naim Qassem, the deputy leader of the Lebanese organization, said in an interview published by the Financial Times on Wednesday. "But Egypt has now revealed that we have given military support to Palestine. We have done so for a while, but we have not talked about it," he continued. In April, Egyptian authorities arrested 49 people suspected of plotting attacks against Israeli targets in the country, as well as against Egypt itself, of trying to smuggle weapons into Gaza, and of spreading Shi'ite ideology on behalf of Hizbullah. The incident quickly escalated into a war of words between Hizbullah and Egyptian officials, in which the latter accused the former of using Egypt as a "playground" for terrorism. Israel has long suspected Hizbullah of assisting the Palestinian with arms and training, but the recent public feud with Egypt led the organization to its first public admission of such activities. "What he [one of those arrested by Egypt] really did was a kind of logistic work to help Palestinian brothers in transporting men and equipment for the resistance inside Palestine," Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said at the time. However, he categorically denied that the activities were aimed at harming Egypt or spreading the group's ideology. Without addressing the latter allegation, Qassem reiterated Nasrallah's point to the Financial Times. "It is one of the secrets of the resistance that we don't talk about the details of our support, but suffice to say that we are giving them every type of support that could help the Palestinian resistance. Every type that is possible," he said. "We leave this to be seen in time to come," Qassem added when pressed on whether the group was providing arms and training. Hizbullah's deputy leader also took the opportunity to blast US policy in the Middle East as hypocritical. "We are asked about our specific and limited support for Gaza, while nobody questions the US about their total and unflinching support for Israel," he said. "We are always questioned but nobody questions the US."