Photo by Admin on 16 January, 2024

Islamic Jihad Commander Describes Iranian Training to Israeli Interrogators

Public By Pesach Benson • 16 January, 2024

Jerusalem, 16 January, 2024 (TPS) -- A Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander arrested in Gaza described to Israeli interrogators how terror operatives were trained in Iran in video footage released by the Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday.

Bassel Mahdi described himself as the commander of Specialized Professions with a platoon of nine men under him. The nine members under his command specialized in 82 mm mortars, 107 mm rockets, engineering, anti-tank rockets, and sniper fire.

Mahdi, who was arrested on Dec. 20., told his interrogator that he was sent to Iran at the suggestion of his commander.

“You need to go to Iran for a sniper’s course,” Mahdi recalled the commander telling him. “Get much benefit from the course and your salary will go up when you come back.”

He was given $1,000, some of which he gave to his wife. A few weeks later, “I went from the Gaza Strip to Egypt where I stayed for about two weeks, from there I went to Syria for a few days and then to Lebanon. After two weeks we went from Syria to Iran again,” Mahdi said.

The course was 15 days at a military base in Iran whose name and location Mahdi did not know. He said the training was done by soldiers wearing Iranian uniforms.

The first four days were spent learning how to use a Kalashnikov. Afterwards, they were trained in the use of other types of sniper rifles.

“Four days training on a Kalashnikov at a distance of 100 meters, five days at a distance of 100-150 meters, six days on a Dragunov (sniper rifle). We practiced shooting stones, targets, balloons at a distance of 300 meters,” Mahdi said.

Mahdi added that there were 15-20 other people from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria taking the course along with him, all of whom were “military activists of the Islamic Jihad.” Some of them took an additional brigade course or received rocket or artillery training.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. The number of men, women, children, soldiers, and foreigners held captive in Gaza by Hamas is now believed to be 136. Other people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.