update deskIsrael at War

Hamas No. 3 Marwan Issa reportedly killed in Israeli strike

Palestinian sources back up Jerusalem's assessment that the terror leader was slain in Gaza.

Smoke rises during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Smoke rises during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

Marwan Issa was killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip on March 9, Kan News reported on Sunday, citing Palestinian sources.

The sources disclosed that privately, Hamas has confirmed Issa’s death, adding that the Hamas co-founder and deputy head of its “military” wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was hiding in a tunnel when he was killed. His body is still buried underneath the rubble.

Razi Abu Tomeh, commander of Hamas’s Central Camp Brigade, also died in the strike, according to the Kan report.

Earlier, security officials told government ministers at Friday’s Security Cabinet meeting that signs indicate that the targeted killing attempt succeeded.

The Israel Defense Forces on March 11 aired footage of a nighttime aerial strike on the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, saying that there was not enough information to confirm that Issa was hit in the attack.

A report on Saturday said that Issa was only wounded. According to Palestinian sources in Gaza cited by London-based, Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq AlAwsat, the terrorist “was injured, but his condition is currently unknown.” They added that “the whole situation is complicated.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the news of Issa’s likely death following the Security Cabinet meeting, saying that it is “a great achievement for Israel” and that “they [Hamas leaders] will all die, we will reach them all.”

The third-ranking official in Hamas, Issa is the most senior leader of the Gaza-based terrorist group targeted since Hamas started the war with its invasion of the northwestern Negev on Oct. 7.

Jerusalem has vowed to kill all of the organization’s senior leaders. In late November, Netanyahu revealed that he had instructed the Mossad to kill Hamas leaders anywhere in the world.

An Israeli airstrike in Beirut in early January killed Saleh al-Arouri, the commander of Hamas operations in Judea and Samaria and deputy politburo chief under chairman Ismail Haniyeh.

In a cryptic video message posted to his X social media channel on March 11, Netanyahu hinted at Issa’s assassination, referencing the killing of al-Arouri, the fourth-ranked member of Hamas.

“We are on the way to absolute victory. On the way to this victory, we already eliminated No. 4 in Hamas. 3, 2 and 1 on the way. Everyone is mortal, we will reach everyone,” he tweeted.

Other terrorist leaders in Israel’s sights include Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and the mastermind of the Oct. 7 attacks, Yahya Sinwar, along with his younger brother Mohammed, commander of Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade; Haniyeh, who is based in Doha, Qatar; Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas’s “military” wing; and Zaher Jabarin, one of the longest-serving members of Hamas, who served as al-Arouri’s deputy and is the group’s key financier.

Mossad director David Barnea in early January threatened to target any terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 murders.

“Let every Arab mother know that if her son took part in the [Oct. 7] massacre—he signed his own death warrant,” said Barnea.

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