Shin Bet reportedly passed on numerous opportunities to eliminate Sinwar

‘If we had launched a surprise attack on Hamas, we would be in a completely different situation,’ the former chief said.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The former head of Israel’s National Security Agency (Shin Bet) disclosed on Thursday that Israel had several opportunities to eliminate Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly rejected the proposals.

“Sinwar lives, unfortunately, because Israel does not want to engage in military adventurism,” said Nadav Argaman, who was speaking in Tel Aviv at the conference of the Institute for National Security Studies.

“If we had launched a surprise attack on Hamas, we would be in a completely different situation.”

According to Argaman, “Israel decided that it will buy calm even if it came with a very high price later on,” adding that Israel “has become addicted to calm.”

The Shin Bet is responsible for protecting Israel’s internal security. Argaman was its director from 2016-2021.

Argaman said the idea of eliminating Sinwar was supported by both his predecessor, Yoram Cohen, and his successor, Ronen Bar, the current director.

Sinwar, 61, has been Gaza’s strongman since 2017.

In his youth, Sinwar founded Hamas’s Majed squads which hunted and killed Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Sinwar is known to have personally killed 12.

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While serving four life sentences for killing collaborators, Israeli doctors diagnosed and removed a cancerous tumor in his head.

In 2011, Sinwar was among the 1,027 security prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

Acquaintances describe Sinwar as obsessed with Israel.

An Egyptian official told the Tazpit Press Service that Sinwar’s elimination would pave the way for the end of the war.

Israel has offered residents of Gaza a $400,000 bounty for info on Sinwar.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, Israel recently declared 31 of them dead.