Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza
A Hamas delegation arrived in Iraq on Sunday in an unannounced visit as Israel intensifies its military campaign in Gaza, expanding ground operations and increasing air strikes.
The delegation was led by Osama Hamdan, one of the Palestinian militant group's senior leaders and its representative in Lebanon. Mohammed Al Hafi, a member of the group’s Arab and Islamic Relations Office, was part of the group.
They met Qais Al Khazali, leader of Iran-backed Shiite militia Asaib Ahl Al Haq (AAH), late on Sunday, a statement issued by AAH said.
The two sides discussed the “latest developments in Gaza, the resilience of the resistance and the determination of its fighters to confront the most brutal aggression by the oppressive occupying entity”, AAH said.
Mr Hamdan also met leaders from a group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a network of powerful Iraqi Shiite militias aligned with Iran, a politician close to the groups told The National.
“They are on a regional trip to muster support and to update the major players in the region on the ongoing developments, whether militarily or politically,” the politician said, without giving more details.
In an interview with Lebanese pro-Iranian TV channel Al Mayadeen, Mr Hamdan expressed hope that Iraq would play a role in the Palestinian cause.
“There is no doubt we are looking forward to an important role to be played by Iraq for the Palestinian cause, whether supporting the resistance or the rights of the Palestinian people or the operations relief,” he said.
US forces in Iraq and Syria have faced a surge in rocket and drone attacks due to Washington's support for Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, after Hamas operatives killed more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, in cross-border raids on October 7.
These attacks have hit Ain Al Asad in western Iraq, a military base near Baghdad's international airport and Harir airport in the northern city of Erbil, as well as bases inside Syria.
On Thursday, the Pentagon reported that at least 21 US troops had experienced “minor injuries” from rocket and drone attacks in Iraq and Syria since October 17.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed responsibility for these attacks.
The US military has been carrying our strikes since Friday on different locations inside Syria that it says were used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its proxies.
The Israeli attacks have killed more than 8,000 people, most of them civilians, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, leading to widespread anger across the Middle East.