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July 30, 2019 4:24 pm

Top IDF Official Warns Gazans: Iran Using Hamas to Take Control of Strip

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Hamas fighters take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of the terror group’s founding, in Gaza City, Dec. 16, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

A top IDF official issued a warning to the residents of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday about Iran’s influence there.

Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukon — head of the Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit — said in an Arabic-language video, “Iran is trying to take control of the Strip.”

He cited recent statements by Saleh al-Arouri during a visit to Tehran, in which the top Hamas official said his group was Iran’s “first line of defense.”

Rukon also cited a statement by an Iranian diplomat to the effect that Iran wanted to create “a united military front from Tehran to Gaza.”

These statements, said Rukon, showed that “the main mission of Hamas” was to be “the military and defense operations arm of Iran.”

“This is the beginning,” Rukon told Gaza residents, “and only you will choose what the end will be.”

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