NEW DELHI: An Israeli air strike has killed senior Hamas commander Ayman Nofal in Gaza, the Hamas’ armed wing Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades said on Tuesday.
Nofal, who was in charge of the Central Gaza area in the armed wing, is the eighth top leader of Hamas to be killed in the airstrikes that started over a week ago. Israel’s ongoing bombardment in Gaza Strip has claimed thousands of Palestinian lives, including hundreds of children.
Despite Israel’s marginal success in removing the top leadership of Hamas, the organisation’s leader Yahya Sinwar remains elusive.

Referred to by Israel as the ‘Butcher of Khan Younis‘ for his violent and cruel torture methods against his enemies, Sinwar is widely seen as being the mastermind of the October 7 attack that killed over 1,600 Israelis.
“That man is in our sights,” Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told journalists over the weekend. “Sinwar is the leader of Hamas in Gaza and he’s a dead man walking … We will get to him, however long it takes … and this war could be long,” he said.

Sinwar is believed to be somewhere in the Palestinian enclave but hidden deep underground in the warren of tunnels Hamas uses to transport weapons and fighters and where they may even be keeping the hostages.
All you need to know about Yahya Sinwar

  • Sinwar was born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in 1962, when the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian rule.
  • His family were expelled from Al-Majdal Asqalan (Ashkelon) during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He finished his studies at the Islamic University of Gaza where he received a bachelor’s degree in Arabic Studies.
  • He joined Hamas not long after its founding in 1987.
  • Two years later he was arrested by Israel for his involvement in the abduction and killing of two Israelis, as well as the torturing and murder of four Palestinians he considered to be collaborators.
  • Sentenced to life in prison, Sinwar ended up serving 22 years in an Israeli jail and was eventually released as part of a prisoner exchange for the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011.
  • He became a prominent leader of Hamas prisoners and was a very influential figure among all Palestinian prisoners.
  • After being returned to Gaza as part of the Shalit deal, Sinwar became a popular leader in Hamas, and in 2017 was elected by secret ballot to replace the incumbent political leader, Ismail Haniyeh.
  • During his time in jail Sinwar learned to speak Hebrew fluently and knows Israeli society very well.

This is not the first time that Sinwar is in Israel’s sights.
In 2018, following the announcement by President Donald Trump that he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, mass protests broke out in Gaza along the border fence with Israel.
Known as the Great March of Return, Israel said Sinwar was instigating the unrest and encouraging thousands of Palestinians to try and break through into Israel to harm civilians.

In regards to the October 7 attack, Israel believes Sinwar purposely misled regional partners such as Egypt and Qatar into believing that he was more focused on relieving the humanitarian crisis for the enclave’s 2.1 million residents than drawing Israel into a war.
Retired Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, Israeli army spokesman, told Fox News Digital that the army had “no doubt” Sinwar was the “mastermind of this massacre.”
“He coordinated the entire institution of Hamas, the government, and the military wing,” said Lerner. “He is the financier, the instructor and he gave the ultimate green light to carry this out.”

Watch Big win for Israel: Israeli Air Force destroys Hamas’ headquarters and bank used to fund terrorists

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