Hamas Denies It Intends to Stay Out of Israeli War With Iran

Speaking to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency, Mahmoud Zahar says retaliation ‘with utmost power is the position of Hamas with regard to a Zionist war on Iran.’

A top Hamas official rejected Wednesday reports that the militant group would stay out of an armed conflict between Israel and Iran, saying that if indeed such a war erupts Hamas will retaliate with “utmost power.”

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Mahmoud Zahar

On Tuesday, a report by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper quoted two Gaza officials as saying that the group did not belong to any regional alliance and would not involve itself in a possible conflict over Iran’s contentious nuclear program.

The report cited Hamas official Salah Bardawil as well as a second unnamed leading figure in the group’s Gaza leadership.

Speaking to the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars on Wednesday, top Hamas figure Mahmoud Zahar refuted a similar report apparently broadcast by BBC’s Persian website, saying: "Retaliation with utmost power is the position of Hamas with regard to a Zionist war on Iran.”

Zahar added that he doubted that Israel would choose to strike Iran, saying, however, that not only would Hamas react to such a conflict, it would also target "whoever helping them.”

Referring to the possibility of an armed conflict between Israel and Iran, Hezbollah deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem said late last month that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program would set the Middle East ablaze.

"America knows that if there is a war on Iran, this means that the whole region will be set alight, with no limit to the fires," told Reuters.

"Gone are the days when Israel decides to strike, and the people are silent," he said.

"Israel could start a war ... but it does not know the scale of the consequences and it is incapable of controlling them."

The Hezbollah deputy said he believed Israel would try to drag a reluctant United States into confrontation with Tehran because it could not inflict sufficient losses on Iran alone.