Putin is trying to form a 'new axis of terror against the West'

Putin is trying to form a ‘new axis of terror against the West’, experts fear – as Russian despot invites Hamas and Iranian leaders to Moscow

  • The head of Iran’s nuclear negotiations was in Russia for talks with officials

Putin is attempting to form a ‘new axis of terror against the West’, experts warned on Thursday after the Russian despot invited Hamas and Iranian representatives to Moscow.

In an apparent departure from Russia’s former alliance with Israel, Putin hosted leaders of the Hamas terror group who praised him for taking an active ‘stance’ against ‘Israeli aggression.’ 

In a photograph released by Hamas, two of its senior leaders were pictured alongside Ali Baheri Kani, the deputy foreign minister of Iran, for talks in the Russian capital.

Bassem Naeem, its head of international relations, and Mousa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of the Hamas politburo, met with Putin’s special envoy in the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov.

The move should be treated with ‘extreme concern’ as it could ‘spell trouble for a new alliance brewing’, experts have claimed.

It came as the IDF continued to carry out raids into Gaza territory overnight into the early hours of Friday morning. 

Bassem Naeem, Mikhail Bogdanov and Moussa Abu Marzouk are pictured in Moscow

Putin is attempting to form a ‘new axis of terror against the West’, experts warned on Thursday

Wounded Palestinians receive treatment at the al-Shifa hospital, following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City

Russian media claimed the meeting took place to further negotiations for the release of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas, including Russian citiziens.

READ MORE: The UN warns ‘nowhere is safe’ in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes turn whole neighbourhoods to rubble and 600,000 people are forced into emergency shelters 

But Kasra Aarabi, the director of IRGC research at United Against Nuclear Iran, said Russia and Iran were united by ‘hostility towards the West, the liberal rule based international order and liberal values’.

He told the Telegraph: ‘A new and looming axis of terror against the West centred around the Iranian regime’s IRGC and Putin’s Russia may very well be on the horizon’.

‘News of the Iran-backed Hamas terror group being welcomed in Moscow should be extremely concerning to the West.’

A spokesperson for the Israeli foreign ministry said Israel ‘sees the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow as an obscene step that gives support to terrorism and legitimises the atrocities of Hamas terrorists’. 

Russia has not condemned the atrocities carried out by Hamas in its October 7 assault, which led to more than 1,400 deaths, nor has it thrown its support behind the Israeli response, which Hamas claims has killed more than 7,000 people.

‘Contacts were held with [Abu Marzouk] in continuation of the Russian line on the immediate release of foreign hostages in the Gaza Strip. Issues related to ensuring the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from the territory of the Palestinian enclave were also discussed,’ TASS said.

Russia has ties to all key players in the Middle East, including Israel, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza.

But Jonathan Harounoff, of The Jewish Institute for National Security of America, believes the meeting could ‘spell trouble for a new alliance brewing, and a growing global splintering between East and West’.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah

People search for survivors among the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis

A wounded Palestinian is carried into the al-Shifa hospital following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City on Thursday

Smoke and fire rise from buildings as people gather amid the destruction in the aftermath of an Israeli strike on Gaza City on October 26

Palestinians search for survivors and the bodies of victims through the rubble of buildings destroyed during Israeli bombardment

People search for survivors and the bodies of victims through the rubble of buildings destroyed during Israeli bombardment, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip

Whole areas of Gaza have been razed to the ground

Smoke and fire rise from buildings as rescuers gather amid the destruction in the aftermath of an Israeli strike on Gaza City

He told the Telegraph it ‘could also signal Moscow’s readiness to abandon its longstanding ties with Israel in order to spread and benefit from chaos and conflict.’

Moscow has repeatedly blamed the current crisis on the failure of US diplomacy, and called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of talks aimed at finding a peace settlement.

Hamas released its own statement in which it praised the efforts of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and foreign ministry to end what it called ‘the crimes of Israel that are supported by the West’, according to Russia’s RIA news agency.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas in retaliation for the October 7 attack and launched a raid into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night as a preclude to an expected imminent incursion.

It continues to bombard Gaza from the air and limit vital aid supplies to the 2.3 million people living in the strip.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister was currently visiting Moscow, but gave no further details. 

Baghiri Kani is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Israel’s military, which has been carrying out limited raids into Gaza as it prepares for a ground incursion of the enclave, said early on Friday it was ‘currently conducting raids in the Gaza Strip as part of preparations for the next stage of the operation.’

Palestinian militants clashed with Israeli troops in at least two areas within the seaside enclave near the border with Israel early on Friday, Hamas-affiliated media reported.

People inspect the damage after Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 26, 2023 shows flares fired by the Israeli army over the northern Gaza Strip

A smoke plume covers the sun during a forest fire that reportedly ignited after shell fire from Israel, in the Labouneh area in southern Lebanon

Israeli military vehicles raided the central area of Al-Bureij and troops were clashing with militants near the border there, the reports said. In the south, in a border area near the town of Rafah, Hamas militants were trading fire with Israeli troops, according to the reports.

The trip came as European Union leaders urged pauses in Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket attacks so humanitarian aid could be delivered to Gaza. 

In Brussels, the 27 leaders of the EU reached a compromise declaration after days of wrangling, expressing the ‘gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza’.

They called for ‘continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs’.

While EU leaders have strongly condemned Hamas’ attack, they have struggled to stick to the same message beyond that, with some stressing Israel’s right to self-defence and others emphasising concern about Palestinian civilians.

Separately, Mamadou Sow, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ regional delegation, said from Jeddah: ‘To say that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic is an understatement. Everything that is needed to sustain life is missing or dwindling by the hour in Gaza.’

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