Palestinian security sources say IRGC officials are currently in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to Walla! News. The officials, who are reportedly experts in missile production, are said to be aiding Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the production of long-range missiles.
Israeli security and diplomatic sources confirmed that there is currently an Iranian presence in the Gaza Strip, but “declined to elaborate,” according to The Tower.
Today’s report on Iranian officials in Gaza comes just over a month after reports suggested that Hamas had test-fired a number of long-range missiles. On Jan. 13, Israel Hayom reported, based upon Palestinian media sources, that “Hamas’ rocket unit expressed satisfaction with the results of the test launches.” The report further noted that “[t]he improved rockets were reportedly manufactured and assembled in the Gaza Strip using Iranian know-how.”
Last March, a high-ranking Israeli official told Haaretz that Iranian military experts were “active in the Gaza Strip and in Sinai” and were supervising the manufacturing of rocket-launching systems. In the past, Hamas has sent hundreds of its fighters to Iran for training.
Earlier today, Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the first rocket fired from Gaza to land in Israel since the implementation of a ceasefire in late November 2012. The rocket, which landed on a road in Ashkelon this morning, was reportedly an “improved mid-to-long range” model. In December, two mortars were fired from Gaza, but did not land in Israel, according to the Shin Bet.
In response to today’s rocket fire, Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing.
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