Hamas military chief in hiding, fears Israeli will assassinate him

Sinwar has not been seen in public for several days, on the heels of rising tensions between Israel and Hamas.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Hamas military chief Yahya Sinwar has gone into hiding due to fears that he may soon be assassinated by Israel, TPS reported Sunday.

A source in the Gaza Strip told TPS that Sinwar has not been seen in public for several days, as Hamas calls for increased rioting along the border fence and launches arson balloons at southern Israeli communities.

Last week, Hamas encouraged Gazans to storm the Israeli border fence in violent protests, which resulted in an Israeli Border Police officer being shot in the head at point blank range.

Originally sentenced to four consecutive life terms in 1988 for masterminding the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers, along with the killings of a number of Palestinians he suspected were collaborating with Israel, Sinwar has emerged as Hamas’ chief military strategist after his release from Israeli custody during the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

The source added that Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas are at odds over the next steps regarding Israel.

According to the source, PIJ wants to engage in a larger conflict with Israel, while Hamas fears that such a clash could draw the ire of Egyptian interlocutors who are currently lobbying Israel to release millions in Qatari aid money into the Strip.

Citing a recent statement from Defense Minister Benny Gantz that “the obstacle to the prosperity and development of the Strip is Hamas led by Sinwar,” the Egyptians will reportedly hold the terror group and its military leader responsible for any escalation with Israel.

While Sinwar previously stayed out of the spotlight, he gained much attention during Operation Guardian of the Walls after Israel carried out an airstrike on his home.

Sinwar was elsewhere at the time, and held a press conference in which he dared Israel’s defense minister to assassinate him within the 60 minutes.

He then spent the next hour walking the streets and posing with well-wishers for selfies.

“Israel…intentionally bombs and kills our women and children,” Sinwar told Vice News in June 2021. “They do it on purpose.”

Hamas’ firing of rockets at Israeli civilian communities, he explained, is solely due to the fact that the terror group does not possess precision-guided missiles.

“If we had the capability…to launch missiles that targeted military targets, we wouldn’t have used the rockets that we did. We are forced to defend our people with what we have, and this is what we have.”