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Who Are the High Hamas Leaders in Gaza?


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Marwan Issa, who was the goal of an Israeli strike in central Gaza over the weekend, is one in all three leaders of Hamas in Gaza who Israel says had been the primary planners of the Oct. 7 assault, which killed over 1,200 individuals and led to the kidnapping of about 240 others, based on Israeli officers. It remained unclear on Tuesday whether or not the strike had hit him.

Here’s what to learn about probably the most senior Hamas leaders in Gaza:

Mr. Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s navy wing, can be the best rating Hamas navy official to be killed by Israel lately. Like many different senior Hamas navy leaders in Gaza, Mr. Issa has stored a low profile, hardly ever showing in public, partly to keep away from focused strikes just like the one over the weekend that Israel’s navy mentioned hit an underground area he had used.

An Israeli military spokesman described Mr. Issa as having helped plan the Hamas-led assault on Oct. 7. Along with his navy position, Mr. Issa served as a negotiator in talks that led to a cease-fire following a virtually two-week flare-up with Israel in 2021, in addition to a deal in 2011, when one captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was exchanged for greater than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Yahya Sinwar at a rally in Gaza Metropolis final yr.Credit score…Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

Mr. Sinwar, Hamas’s chief in Gaza, was born within the Khan Younis refugee camp, which was arrange after the 1948 Arab-Israeli struggle and has since develop into a everlasting neighborhood, a part of the broader metropolis of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. He based a precursor to Hamas’s navy wing, known as Al Majd, and helped set up Hamas in 1987. On the time, he was accountable for figuring out and punishing Palestinians suspected of infringing “morality” codes or collaborating with Israel.

In 1988, Mr. Sinwar was arrested by Israeli forces and sentenced to 4 life sentences for his position in killing 4 Palestinians suspected of working with Israel, based on Israeli courtroom data.

Mr. Sinwar spent over 20 years in Israeli jail, and was launched as a part of the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011. Upon his return to Gaza, Mr. Sinwar slowly rose by the ranks of Hamas management, taking over a job akin to protection minister in 2012, and being elected to the highest Hamas submit in Gaza in 2017. He’s recognized to be a hard-liner and developed a status for brutality, which earned him the nickname “the butcher of Khan Younis.”

An undated photograph of Mohammed Deif, the navy chief of Hamas.Credit score…Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

Mr. Deif, the enigmatic commander of Hamas’s navy wing, the Qassam Brigades, was additionally born within the Khan Younis refugee camp. As a younger man, he joined Hamas across the time it was based,and he shortly rose by the group’s ranks, succeeding the founding father of Hamas’s navy wing, Salah Shehadeh, in 2002 after Mr. Shehadeh was killed in an Israeli strike. He orchestrated quite a few assaults on Israel, together with a collection of suicide bombings in 1996. Generally known as Hamas’s prime bomb maker, Mr. Deif additionally constructed Hamas’s navy wing right into a combating drive.

Mr. Deif has been on the prime of Israel’s record of most-wanted terrorists for many years, and has evaded greater than eight makes an attempt on his life, based on Israeli intelligence. Israeli intelligence officers imagine he misplaced a watch and was severely injured in these makes an attempt. In 2014, an Israeli airstrike killed one in all his wives and their toddler son.

Mr. Deif has not been seen publicly for years, and Israeli officers imagine he has spent the previous many years in Hamas’s warren of underground tunnels. Following the Oct. 7 assault, Mr. Deif mentioned in a recorded message launched by Hamas that the group had determined to launch an “operation” in order that “the enemy will perceive that the time of their rampaging with out accountability has ended.”

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