Ahmadinejad (L) and Haniyeh (archives)
Photo: AP

Ahmadinejad congratulates Haniyeh; tunnel rebuilding begins

Hamas leader tells Iranian president 'victory' over Israel belongs to Muslims worldwide; Rafah arms smuggling tunnels already being rebuilt, according to reports in Gaza

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh on Friday and congratulated him on the "resistance's victory following the Israeli aggression that lasted eight days."


Ahmadinejad said Iran stands with the Palestinian people and asked Haniyeh to send his condolences to the families of those killed during the IDF's Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Haniyeh thanked the Iranian president and told him that the "victory" belongs to Muslims worldwide.


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Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar acknowledged on Friday that the rockets fired by Hamas' armed wing toward Israel during the latest round of fighting were "Iranian rockets in Palestinian hands."


Video courtesy of


Speaking at a procession in Gaza, al-Zahar criticized the Fatah movement and the Palestinian Authority, saying they played no part in the "victory" over Israel.


Meanwhile, reports in Gaza said the Rafah smuggling tunnels, pummeled by the IAF over eight days, are already being rebuilt.


הנייה ואחמדינג'אד. ארכיון (צילום: רויטרס)

'Victory for all Muslims.' Ahmadinejad (L) and Haniyeh (Archive photo: Reuters)


"As you can see there is complete destruction, the tunnels are all destroyed because of the missiles. We will rebuild them and bring in food, flour lentils and sugar and building material such as cement and metal so that the people can break the siege on Gaza," Mohamad Omar told Reuters on Friday while his friends were busy clearing up their camp.


Video courtesy of


Local workmen said the IAF attacks destroyed more than two-thirds of the cross-border tunnels which are used to bring in cement, fuel, food, and the rockets and mortar shells used against Israeli civilian enclaves only a few miles away.


"We are trying to fix the tunnel in order to return to our normal life which we need the tunnel for work. It costs a lot but what can we do, we have to fix it. For example this tunnel of ours which has been hit it will cost no less that 40 thousand dollars to fix," Mohamad Aladwan said.


On Friday top Hamas figure Izzat al-Rishiq denied reports that the ceasefire agreement includes an Egyptian guarantee to work with the US to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza.


"It is not true, as some say, that the ceasefire agreement included that Egypt will work with special US units to prevent smuggling of weapons into Gaza. These are Israeli leaks aimed to ease the impact of their defeat," he wrote on his Facebook page.


Islamic Jihad deputy leader Ziad Nakhaleh also addressed the ceasefire and warned that his terror organization would retaliate to any Israeli violation of the truce.


He said the agreement calls on Israel to lift the siege on Gaza. If Israel fails to comply, he said, the Palestinian groups in Gaza would resume the armed 'resistance'.


Reuters contributed to the report


You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at:



פרסום ראשון: 11.24.12, 12:27
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