Senior Hamas official recalls Iran’s Qassem Soleimani gave him million in suitcases

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said in a recent interview that following his first meeting with Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander had given him $22 million dollars to take back with him to the Gaza Strip.

Speaking with Iran’s Al-Alam TV on Dec. 27, al-Zahar, who was Hamas’s foreign minister at the time the incident took place, related that Soleimani would have given him more, but that $22 million was all the nine-person Hamas delegation could carry. “Each suitcase weighed 40 kilograms [88 pounds],” he said.

After he was appointed foreign minister in 2006, said al-Zahar, “I traveled to a number of countries, one of which was Iran. I met with the [Iranian] foreign minister, and then some Iranian officials.”

He also met with Iran’s president at the time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That meeting, said al-Zahar, was “a positive one.”

“We made a number of requests, and he [Ahmadinejad] referred me to Qassem Soleimani. In the meeting [with Soleimani] we said that our main problems were the wages of our government employees, people who needed social aid, and the aid that had to be given to the people, when a siege had been imposed on us after our success in the elections,” said al-Zahar.

“The decision was taken immediately. I was supposed to fly out the following day. I discovered $22 million waiting for me in suitcases at the airport. We had agreed on a larger sum, but there were only nine of us and this was all we could carry,” he added.

Israel in the News