Hamas terror leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar on Monday delivered his first public message since the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre and the ensuing war.
While admitting that the terror group is facing a “fierce, violent and unprecedented battle” against Israel, Sinwar claimed in the letter to the Hamas political bureau that “the occupation army is suffering heavy losses in life and equipment.”
Sinwar claimed that the Izz ad-Din al-Kassam Brigades (the “military wing” of Hamas) had killed over a thousand Israeli soldiers. According to the Israel Defense Forces, 156 soldiers have been killed since the start of ground operations in Gaza on Oct. 27, and 489 military personnel in total have lost their lives since the war began on Oct. 7.
He also gave inflated numbers of Israeli soldiers wounded and military vehicles destroyed during the war.
The statement, on the 80th day of the war, comes amid recent reports that the IDF is hot on the heels of Sinwar, one of the masterminds of the Oct. 7 massacre, along with leader of Izz ad-Din al-Kassam, Mohammed Deif.
Sinwar is believed to be hiding in the Khan Yunis area of the southern Gaza Strip. He is thought to have escaped from the north by hiding in a humanitarian convoy.
Israeli troops have twice managed to reach tunnels in which Sinwar was believed to be hiding, with the terror chief narrowly escaping, according to the IDF. Intelligence indicates that Sinwar is moving around constantly in an effort to avoid being killed or captured; Israeli forces have orders to eliminate the terror organization’s top leadership.
During the manhunt, troops also uncovered a space in which Deif had previously hidden.
Sinwar’s death is only a matter of time, a senior Biden administration official said on Dec. 14, pledging that “justice will be served.”
Coinciding with a visit to the region by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the official, who spoke to reporters for 35 minutes from a car in Tel Aviv, said: “I think it’s safe to say his days are numbered,” of Sinwar. “He has American blood on his hands.”