Israeli and American flags on the ground for mourners to walk on (Twitter account of Ali Shoeib, January 4, 2020).
The mourning tent erected in Gaza City for Qassem Soleimani.
Isma'il Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau, eulogizes Qassem Soleimani at the funeral in Tehran (Erem News YouTube channel, January 6, 2020).
- On the night of January 2, 2020 American aircraft attacked a convoy of two vehicles carrying senior officials of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force and Shi’ite militias. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, was killed in the attack. Also killed were Abu-Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the pro-Iranian militia in Iraq, and several Qods Force and Shi’ite militias operatives.
Right: Qassem Soleimani’s vehicle burns (Tasnim, January 3, 2020). Left: Qassem Soleimani’s burned-out vehicle after the attack (Fararu, January 3, 2020).
- So far the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah have not issued an official reaction. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), on the other hand, and the heads of their military-terrorist wings, which receive military and financial support from Iran, were quick to express sorrow at Soleimani’s death. The mourning notices issued by Hamas and the PIJ stressed the aid and support Qassem Soleimani gave the Palestinian “resistance” in general and their military wings in the Gaza Strip in particular.
- In the meantime, while Soleimani’s cortège left Baghdad, a mourning tent was erected in Gaza City. Pictures of Soleimani were hung, as were signs with pictures and mourning notices. The people who came to pay their respects walked on Israeli and American flags which had been laid on the ground at the entrance to the tent. The flags were later burned. Sources in the Gaza Strip stressed that the mourning tent had been erected in the name of all the organizations and not exclusively by Hamas and the PIJ (which are supported by Iran) (Filastin al-Yawm, Amad, January 2, 2020).
Israeli and American flags are burned in the mourning tent erected for Qassem Soleimani in Gaza City (Lamess Twitter account, January 4, 2020).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, led a Hamas delegation to Tehran to participate in the funeral. Members of the delegation included Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh al-‘Arouri, Izzat al-Rishq and Musa Abu Marzouq. While in Iran the delegation can be expected to meet with the Iranian leadership (Sanad Lilanbaa, January 6, 2020). A PIJ delegation headed by organization leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah and his deputy Ikram al-Ajouri also arrived in Tehran to participate in the funeral (Radio Nur, al-Akhbar, January 6, 2020).
- Isma’il Haniyeh gave a eulogy in which he condemned the “despicable crime” carried out by the Americans and expressed great esteem for Soleimani’s contribution to the “resistance” (i.e., the Palestinian terrorist organizations). He said the “resistance” would continue and would not fade until the removal of the “occupiers” from the Palestinians’ land and from Jerusalem (Erem News YouTube channel, January 6, 2020).
Pictures from a video from Qassem Soleimani’s Instagram account broadcast by the Iranian al-Alam TV channel, December 27, 2017. The video was entitled “A message from the children of Palestine to Hajj Qassem Soleimani.” The children say they are proud of Soleimani, love him and thank him and Iran for the support they give the Gaza Strip (al-Alam TV, Iran, December 27, 2020).
The Palestinian Authority (PA)
- The PA and Fatah did not issue official notices. The only reaction came from Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, who claimed that the killing of Soleimani would have dire consequences for the region and for the United States. He added that the United States had abandoned the Palestinians to their fate and therefore the Palestinians needed a new strategy to struggle against Israel (al-Mayadeen, January 3, 2020).
- Hamas issued a notice expressing sorrow at the Soleimani’s death and stressing that he had strongly supported the “Palestinian resistance.” Hamas condemned the “ongoing crimes” committed by the United States and the tension it caused in the region in service to Israel. Hamas claimed the United States was responsible for extensive Arab bloodshed, and fanned the flames of struggle between Arabs without considering the interests of the people, their freedom or their stability (alresala.net, January 3, 2020).
- Hamas’ military-terrorist wing expressed sorrow at the death of Soleimani and esteem for the central role he had played in the Palestinian cause and his support for the “resistance” (i.e., Hamas and other terrorist organizations). An announcement was issued stating that the “resistance” forces in Palestine would continue the struggle against Israel, which was the “source of regional evil.” Soleimani’s blood, according to the announcement, would bring a curse upon his murderers and upon Israel (Sawa, January 3, 2020).
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, in a conversation with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, expressed his condolences for Soleimani’s death. He praised the role Soleimani had played in supporting the “resistance” and his stance for the rights of the Palestinian people, in defense of their territory and holy places (Hamas website, January 5, 2020). The Hamas delegation, headed by Haniyeh, currently staying in Qatar, went to Tehran to participate in the funeral.
- Senior Hamas figure Isma’il Radwan, who was interviewed in the mourning tent erected in Gaza City, blamed Israel and the United States for Soleimani’s death, claiming their “crimes” would not influence the spirit of the “resistance.” He said the entire “resistance axis” was a victim of the American attack and that the members of the axis were in constant communication to decide the time and place for a fitting response (al-Mayadeen, January 4, 2020).
Isma’il Radwan interviewed by Iranian al-Alam TV. The interview was held in the mourning tent erected in Gaza City (al-Alam, January 4, 2020).
- Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, praised Soleimani’s contribution to Palestine and his sacrifice for it. He expressed hope that Iran would continue its policy of support for the Palestinians (al-Ahad, January 5, 2020).
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
- The PIJ, the organization most affiliated with Iran, expressed its great sorrow at Soleimani’s death. It issued an announcement praising his activity and condemning the United States, which was behind his killing (alresala.net, January 3, 2020).
- Abu Hamza, spokesman for the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing, said that for two decades Soleimani had supervised Iran’s direct support for Palestine and the provision of military and security know-how for jihad fighters. He said the “axis of resistance” had not been defeated and would not be broken. Its stability and forces in the struggle against Israeli and American plans would only be strengthened (Sawa, January 3, 2020). Senior PIJ figure Ahmed al-Mudallal said that the operational-military experience of the “resistance movement” was the result of the support given by Iran (al-Aqsa, January 5, 2020).
- Senior PIJ figure Khader Habib said that Israel was one of the main beneficiaries of the killing of Soleimani. He said the United States, with its crimes and bias towards Israel, was an enemy of all the peoples of the Islamic nation. He called Soleimani the spearhead of the struggle against American hegemony and that the struggle would not end until America’s hegemony ended. He called on the world to support the “Palestinian resistance” (Sawa, January 3, 2020). In another interview he claimed Israel was an accomplice in the attack because it had been carried out for Israel’s benefit (Paltoday YouTube channel, January 3, 2020).
Khader Habib condemns the killing of Qassem Soleimani
(Paltoday YouTube channel, January 3, 2020).
- PIJ deputy leader Muhammad al-Hindi said the killing of Soleimani presented an opportunity for a turning point in the struggle against American and Israeli regional hegemony and expansion (Sawa, January 3, 2020).
Other Palestinian terrorist organizations
- The other Palestinian terrorist organizations expressed sorrow at Soleimani’s death and accused Israel as well as the United States. Most of them stressed the aid and support Soleimani had given the “Palestinian resistance.” For example, Abu Ahmed Fuad, deputy head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that Qassem Soleimani had supported the “resistance” in the Palestinian territories, in Lebanon, Yemen and everywhere, and that his objective had always been Jerusalem and the liberation of all Palestine. He said that by killing Soleimani the United States had opened the gates of hell. He said that the entire “resistance,” not just Iran, wanted a response to the crime, because the killing harmed the entire “axis of resistance” (alresala.net, January 3, 2020).
Expressions of joy at Soleimani’s death
- On the other hand, in the Gaza Strip there were also expressions of joy at Soleimani’s death, although, in ITIC assessment, their scope and public importance were low. Some people even distributed pastries to passersby. A sign on a tray of pastries expressed joy at the death of the “criminal” Qassem Soleimani, murderer of the (Palestinian) people in Syria and Iraq (Twitter account of Anwar Malik, January 4, 2020).
- A number of Gazans interviewed for the Egyptian TV station Safa said they were happy Qassem Soleimani was dead. They said he had been “the world’s number one criminal and terrorist” and had killed many Sunni Muslims in Iraq and had destroyed Syria (Safa, January 4, 2020).