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People's Daily Online>>World >> Middle East

Hamas denies reports of Iranian experts aiding militants

(Xinhua)

14:41, March 21, 2012

GAZA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior Hamas official on Tuesday denied media reports saying that Iranian military experts were helping Gaza militant groups to develop weapons and upgrade their capabilities for a future confrontation with Israel.

"These reports are fabricated and aim to justify (Israeli) military aggression against Gaza," Mahmoud Zahar, a member of Hamas' politburo, told Xinhua.

On Monday, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that some Iranian experts were in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to help the militant groups based in the coastal enclave.

"Israel tries to link Gaza to everything it sees terrorist to incite the world's opinions against Gaza," Zahar added. "Israel also tries to disturb Hamas' relations with Egypt," he went on, referring to the reports saying some Gaza factions had set up bases in Northern Sinai, which borders Gaza.

Zahar returned to Gaza Monday after what he called "a successful" visit to Iran. He said his visit was a rebuke to the conjecture that the ties between Hamas and Iran had deteriorated.

Media reports have said Iran stopped funding Hamas after the Islamic movement refused to support the Iran-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his handling of a year-old unrest.

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