update deskIsrael at War

Mosque decision points to possible Sinwar escape route

Hamas leaders might flee Gaza underground to Sinai.

Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at a rally in Beit Lahiya, May 30, 2021. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.
Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at a rally in Beit Lahiya, May 30, 2021. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.

Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar, considered one of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre, may try to escape into Egypt through entry points under mosques, according to Israeli media reports.

Hamas’s Religious Endowment Ministry recently ordered the opening of mosques to accept displaced persons. At least five of them are near the Philadelphi Corridor, the name for the Gaza-Egypt border.

The mosques have tunnels under them leading across the corridor into Egypt, Channel 12 reported on Wednesday, suggesting that they could provide an escape route for Sinwar and other senior Hamas leadership.

“An explicit directive from the Hamas government to the mosques to open their doors to displaced persons has not been given until now in any of the days of the war. Therefore, the directive it issued regarding the Rafah mosques needs to arouse interest,” Channel 12 reported.

The city of Rafah is the site of the Rafah Border Crossing, the sole official crossing point with Egypt from the Gaza Strip.

Asked by JNS about Israel’s efforts to keep tabs on the border, Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Eylon Levy said that Israel could not comment on the “various intelligence means” it is using to target Sinwar and others.

“We certainly will continue making every effort to bring them to justice and to get our hands on all of the monsters responsible for the Oct. 7 massacre,” he said.

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