: Iran reportedly helped Hamas plan surprise attack on Israel

Iran helped plan Hamas’ devastating attack on Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, a revelation that — if confirmed — could widen the conflict.

Citing senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, the Journal reported that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps worked with Hamas since August to plan the attack, which it reportedly gave the green light to last Monday.

The surprise attack on Saturday killed hundreds of Israelis, and triggered retaliatory bombings of Gaza by the Israeli military. On Sunday, Israel officially declared war, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a long and difficult fight ahead.

The potential involvement of Iran could worsen the conflict. While Iran has long supported proxy groups fighting Israel, direct involvement could trigger an Israeli response against Iran itself, threatening to embroil the broader region.

Also read: ‘Fear trade’: What Israel-Hamas war means for oil prices and financial markets

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Sunday said the U.S. has not yet seen evidence that Iran directed the attack, and dismissed criticisms that the recent U.S. deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds had contributed to the attack.

“The facts are these — no U.S. taxpayer dollars were involved,” Blinken said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “These were Iranian resources that Iran had accumulated from the sale of its oil that were stuck in a bank in South Korea. They have had from day one, under our law, under our sanctions, the right to use these monies for humanitarian purposes. … As of now, not a single dollar has been spent from that account.”

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