Where is Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, hiding in Gaza?

Where is Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, hiding in Gaza?

Everything we know about the situation of Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, is provided to us by the Israeli intelligence services, which are an interested party. not much. From Palestinian sources, which are also among the interested parties, we know nothing. The Israelis say he lives in the tunnels, and like any other fugitive, he constantly changes locations, southward, as Israeli forces advance from north to south, toward the city of Rafah.

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Last week, army spokesman Daniel Hagari appeared before reporters. A few hours earlier, Israel leaked what it considered important news: it had obtained a recent video of the leader from Sinwar, which was scheduled to be released that very evening. The military and intelligence services had previously discussed publishing the video for several hours, until they decided to proceed with pressure on Hamas. The logic was that Sinwar might get nervous when he saw his backlit silhouette as he and his family escaped through one of Gaza's tunnels. The video is less than ten seconds long. It is black and white and poor quality. It was recorded by a fixed camera in the tunnel. The video shows the Sinwar family, consisting of three sons and his wife, leaving an underground room through a tunnel, guided by a young man carrying a flashlight. Military spokesman Hajari said that the man carrying the lantern belongs to the security services affiliated with Hamas. At the end of the video, for three or four seconds, you can see the silhouette of a man, the last to leave the room, and it is Sinwar that can be seen from behind.

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But the video is not recent. It was recorded more than four months ago, on October 10, just three days after the Hamas attack on Israeli towns in the south of the country, which killed about 1,200 people. On October 10, when the video was recorded, the ground assault on the sector had not yet begun, which did not begin until October 27.

Saving a life in exchange for leaving Gaza

Some Hebrew media said that Israel offered Sinwar to leave Gaza to save his life. In return, Hamas abandons the Gaza Strip forever. Sinwar reportedly rejected the offer. Israel is confident that if military pressure continues, Sinwar will be forced to leave the Strip, perhaps through some tunnels linking the Rafah city area to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

The army says that Sinwar lost contact with his surroundings a long time ago and is only concerned with survival. According to this account, Sinwar is no longer leading negotiations with Israel regarding the hostages. At first he did so, and he did so in writing, but now no one knows his whereabouts and it is impossible to contact him, according to the Israeli army.

Some of the first hostages to be released said that at the beginning of the war, Sinwar was watching the evening news on Hebrew TV Channel 12, the same news that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watches. They also said he spoke Hebrew without an accent, a language he learned in prison.

He was released in exchange for soldier Shalit

Al-Sanwar was born in 1962 in Khan Yunis refugee camp, a town in the southern Gaza Strip that was recently occupied by the army, but where fighting is still raging. His family is originally from the Ashkelon region, an Israeli city on the Mediterranean Sea, which was expelled during the 1948 war into Gaza. He studied Arabic language and literature at the Islamic University of Gaza.

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In 1989, two years after Hamas was founded, Sinwar killed two soldiers and four Palestinian collaborators. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but after 22 years, in 2011, he was released after exchanging Palestinian prisoners for soldier Gilad Shalit. An official at the prison where he was being held stated that Sinwar once told him that one day he would be the one to interrogate Israeli prison officials.

Since 2017, he has been the head of the Hamas movement. He initially said that he would organize peaceful popular resistance, but later changed his mind. In 2021, he survived an assassination attempt by the army. He is now Israel's top target, above his brother Mohammed, Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa, all members of Hamas who allegedly planned and directed the October 7 attacks.

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