Hamas has re-established its relationship with Iran and is benefiting from the Islamic Republic’s financial and military aid, Gaza-based leaders have said.

The announcement from the new Hamas chief coincides with a warning from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran is busy building missile bases in Syria, where Iranian proxy Hezbollah has fought alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the bloody civil war.

“Today, the relationship with Iran is excellent, or very excellent,” said Yehiyeh Sinwar, who was elected the new Hamas head this year. He added that Tehran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” to Hamas’ military wing.

“Thousands of people work every day to make rockets, (dig) tunnels and train frogmen,” he said. “The relationship with Iran is in this context.”

In Israel, in a meeting with the United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Netanyahu said Iran was “busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment” because “it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as warfronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel”.

Maj. Gen. Michael Beary of UNIFIL, the UN’s regional peacekeeping force, said last week that he has no evidence that weapons are being illegally transferred and stockpiled in the Hezbollah-dominated south of Lebanon.