Heads of Iran-allied militant groups meet in Tehran amid Raisi funeral

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Leaders of the Iran-led, so-called “axis of resistance,” including Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, discussed the war in Gaza during a meeting in Tehran on the sidelines of president Ebrahim Raisi’s funeral, state media reported Thursday.

The “axis of resistance” brings together Iran’s regional allies in the fight against Israel, including the Palestinian movement Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthi militia and Iraqi Shia armed groups.

The leaders of these movements met Wednesday after attending ceremonies organized in Tehran to pay tribute to Raisi, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran.

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The meeting was attended by Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ Qatar-based political bureau, as well as Hezbollah deputy Naim Qassem and Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam.

Haniyeh had also previously had an audience with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iranian officials meanwhile included General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as General Esmail Qaani, commander of the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the IRGC.

They discussed “the latest political, social and military situation in Gaza and the Al-Aqsa Flood operation and the role of the resistance front,” state broadcaster IRIB reported.

The meeting reportedly stressed “the continuation of jihad and struggle until the complete victory of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza with the participation of all resistance groups and fronts in the region,” IRIB said.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar channel also reported the meeting, broadcasting photos.

Iran’s Fars news agency said representatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Iraqi groups were also present at the meeting.

Since the start of the war in Gaza in October, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who also died in the helicopter accident, had increased his trips to the region, particularly to Lebanon and Syria.

Iran is a key backer of Hamas, but has repeatedly denied involvement in the Palestinian group’s October 7 attack on Israel.

With AFP

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