The Biden administration has yet to find compelling evidence directly linking Iran to the planning and execution of the attack on Israel this weekend, US officials told CNN on Sunday.
However, it is undeniable that Iran has always helped Hamas, officials said.
“Of course Iran is in on it,” a US official told CNN. “They have supported Hamas and Hezbollah for years.”
Immediately after the attack, senior U.S. officials maintained that it was too early to determine whether Iran played a direct role in planning and supporting the Hamas attack. “It’s early” and is a matter of vested interest to be determined, a senior official said.
But officials are beginning to go so far as to say that Iran’s well-established ties to Hamas would mean it is likely that Iran helped train and finance the efforts that led to the attack there. weekend.
“Iran’s close ties to Hamas and its financial and operational support make it likely that they played a role in this matter,” a Democratic senator, who was to receive a confidential briefing Monday, told CNN .
But so far, U.S. officials say there is no intelligence establishing a direct link.
A congressional source said that given the sophistication of the attack, Iran would have played a role, since Hamas does not have the capacity to purchase weapons on that scale. The question now: to what extent Iran played a role.
Another key question is how Hamas coordinated and assembled the people and weapons to execute the operation and did so without being detected by major Middle Eastern and Western intelligence operations, including by the Israelis.
“In this specific case, we have not yet seen any evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday’s “State of the Union.” CNN. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he added, “It’s something we’re looking at very carefully, and we have to see where the facts lead.”
While the administration has rejected criticism that a recent deal unfreezing billions of dollars in Iranian funds was linked to the attack, Blinken was more circumspect about whether the deal would have allowed Iran to spend other funds, noting that Iran has a long history of supporting terrorism.
“Iran has unfortunately always used and concentrated its funds to support terrorism, to support groups like Hamas. And this is what happened when there were sanctions; This is what was done even though there were no sanctions. And that’s always been a priority,” he said on “Meet the Press.”