On Tuesday, the Israeli intelligence agency, Shin Bet, revealed new details about the training of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives from the Gaza Strip on Iranian soil.
The investigation, which resulted from the arrest of Bassel Mahdi, a commander in a PIJ platoon, revealed the extensive military training provided by Islamic Republic soldiers to groups of 15-20 members from the PIJ in Gaza, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. Bassel Mahdi was arrested by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet forces in the Gaza Strip in December 2023 and was transferred to Israel for questioning.
In his testimony to the Israeli security agency, Mahdi revealed the training regimen that PIJ operatives underwent at a military training base in Iran.
“My commander called me and said that I should go to Iran for a sniper course, assuring me that I would benefit from it and that my salary would increase upon my return,” Mahdi told Israeli officials.
Mahdi explained that the journey involved traveling from the Gaza Strip to Egypt, where he stayed for several weeks, then went to Syria and Lebanon for a few days. After a few weeks, the operatives returned to Iran for more military training.
“The course in Iran lasted for 15 days, encompassing physical fitness training and shooting exercises with various types of weapons,” he told his interrogators.
“The information divulged by the Shin Bet simply confirms what we knew all along – that Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, is deeply involved in the Palestinian Territories, and propping up radical groups there,” explained Ilan Berman, senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.
The PIJ commander said that he trained with a Russian Kalashnikov for four days and then trained with a Dragunov sniper rifle for six days, “shooting at stones, targets, and balloons at a distance of 300 meters.”
Mahdi also revealed that some PIJ troops underwent courses in rocketry, artillery, and various other military training in Iran.
Following the Oct. 7 attack from the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas against the Jewish state of Israel, Tehran has increased its support to terrorist proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, calling on Shiite and Sunni followers of Islam to attack American and Israeli forces in the Middle East.
Since the attack, reports from the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have revealed that Tehran had a direct role in financing, training, and preparing Hamas for their brutal attack.
“Quite simply, neither Hamas nor the PIJ would be nearly as lethal, and well-armed, as they are today without Tehran’s help. The question is, when will someone hold the Iranian regime accountable,” Berman told The Foreign Desk.
Since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the number one exporter of terrorism against the Jewish state, supporting various groups throughout the Middle East to attack Israeli civilians and destroy the Jewish state.
In Yemen, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have heeded Tehran’s call and have attacked numerous American Navy and commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea. Despite the United States and its allies engaging in airstrikes against the Houthis in Southern Yemen, the Iranian-backed terrorist group vows it will continue its attack no matter what pressure it faces from the U.S. or Western countries.