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Iran severs ties with Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Iran has stopped its financial assistance for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, Al-Quds newspaper reported on Tuesday. The severing of ties has led the group’s Secretary General, Ramadan Shalah, to leave Tehran, where he had been trying to sort out the problems with the government, and head for Beirut.

The government in Tehran has taken this step, said Gaza-based Islamic Jihad official Jamil Abdul-Nabi, because of the movement’s refusal to adopt a clear position in support of Iran’s involvement in Yemen. Despite its pro-Assad position, Islamic Jihad has asserted repeatedly that it is taking a neutral position regarding the Yemeni issue. Attempts by Hezbollah to mediate between Islamic Jihad and Tehran have failed, sources told the Palestinian newspaper.

According to Al-Quds, the Palestinian movement has been looking for new sponsors, without success. It is facing a severe financial crisis and has closed the head office of its main satellite TV channel, Palestine Today, and cut the number of employees in its office in Gaza. It has also dismissed dozens of employees in other locations and has not paid full salaries for the others for about four months.

The newspaper claimed that internal divisions within the movement are also responsible for the Iranian decision to end the funding. One of its senior officials in Gaza, Hisham Salem, has established a new group called “Al-Saberoon”, which is in full ideological and political agreement with Iran. Its members, apparently, get paid full salaries every month. Al-Quds said that it could not get any of the Islamic Jihad leaders to comment on this.

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