NEW: Iran Says They'll Get Involved if Israel Mounts a Ground Offensive in Gaza

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

After working hand-in-hand with Hamas to plan the terrorist group's attacks on Israel, Iran now claims it doesn't want a further escalation in the week-long war between Israel and Hamas. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with UN envoy to the Middle East Tor Wennesland on Saturday in Beirut, Axios reported, with Amir-Abdollahian asking Wennesland to get a message to Israel warning them that if they mount a ground offensive in Gaza, Iran will have to get involved.

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The diplomatic sources speaking to Axios said:

  • Wennesland urged Amir-Abdollahian to help prevent a spillover of the conflict in Gaza and Israel to the wider region in the Middle East.
  • The Iranian foreign minister replied that Iran doesn't want the conflict to turn into a regional war and wants to try and help with the release of civilians who are being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
  • But Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Iran has its redlines. He said that if the Israeli military operation continues — and especially if Israel follows through on its promise of a ground offensive in Gaza — Iran will have to respond, according to the sources.

Wennesland's office confirmed to Axios that the meeting with Amir-Abdllahian in fact occurred, and the diplomatic sources told Axios that Wennesland had passed the message along to "Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and other officials." The outlet also reported that:

Amir-Abdollahian, who earlier met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, said in a briefing with reporters in Beirut on Saturday that Israel must "stop the crimes against civilians in Gaza — because it might be too late in few hours."

"I know about the scenarios that Hezbollah has put in place," Amir-Abdollahian said. "Any step the resistance will take will cause a huge earthquake" for Israel.

That's mighty rich of Iran, whose President gleefully tweeted images of Israelis running from the carnage at the music festival last Saturday while publicly denying any role (because they know there will be retaliation from Israel if they publicly acknowledge a role). And, even though White House and other U.S. officials hit back at a Wall Street Journal report - based on information from Iranian and Syrian sources - claiming that Iran was intimately involved in planning Hamas' attack, another report in the New York Times published Friday reiterated Iran's role and gave more detail (emphasis mine):

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Gen. Esmail Ghaani, who is in charge of supervising Iran’s network of proxy militias as head of the country’s paramilitary Quds Force, repeatedly traveled to Lebanon for covert sessions with leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, a Shiite Lebanese militia that Iran also supports.

Over the past year, Mr. Ghaani worked to coordinate and unify all of Iran’s proxies, according to public statements from Iranian analysts and five Iranians familiar with the work of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Some people familiar with the operation said that a tight circle of leaders from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas helped plan the attack starting over a year ago, trained militants and had advanced knowledge of it. That account is based on interviews with three Iranians affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, one Iranian connected to senior leadership and a Syrian affiliated with Hezbollah.

That training was highly specific, and carried out with military precision.

Mr. Barakeh, the Hamas official in Beirut, said in an interview that the attack plans were so tightly held that he only found out about the assault when he received a slew of text messages early on Saturday morning.

Still, training had been taking place in Lebanon and Syria, and a secret joint command center had been set up in Beirut, according to the Iranians and the Syrian familiar with the operation.

Hezbollah’s top commandos, experienced in urban guerrilla warfare, trained Hamas members in Syria and Lebanon, according to two Iranians. Paragliders trained in Lebanon, they said, while in Syria, the Hamas members were trained to raid Israeli communities and take civilians hostage.

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Sorry, Iran. You don't get to plan such an attack and then attempt to control the response of the people you attacked.

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