A document recovered from a computer found inside a Hamas pickup truck, obtained by CNN, has unveiled Iran's efforts to provide technical training to Hamas operatives.
The document, dated July, reveals a Hamas military commander's request for scholarships for operatives to study “engineering, physics, and technology at Iranian universities.”
While Iran's financial and military support for Hamas is well-known, Israeli officials and former US intelligence personnel argue that the document serves as evidence of Iran's attempt to offer technical training to aid Hamas in producing its own weaponry in the lead-up to the October 7 attack on southern Israel.
Israeli government sources, while declining to comment publicly, confirmed the authenticity of the document on background. The development marks the first known instance of Iran seeking to fund university-hosted training for Hamas operatives, according to Israeli officials.
At least 50 students from the Gaza Strip were expected to participate in the broader Iranian program, with explicit training on explosives engineering offered to Hamas fighters through the university program, likely provided by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Israeli intelligence.
Jonathan Panikoff, a former senior intelligence analyst, suggests that Iran aims to enhance the military capabilities of proxies like Hamas, making them less dependent on Tehran. “It’s the ‘teach a man to fish’ analogy,” he said.
It is not an isolated incident as Iran bolsters its proxy forces. In July, officials from the University of Tehran reached an agreement in a meeting with leaders of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi. The agreement allowed members of the force and other proxy forces of the Islamic Republic in the region who are "seeking education" to enroll in Iranian universities, including the University of Tehran.