OpinionIsrael at War

Yahya Sinwar is on the run

By weakening Hamas's grip on power and increasing public perception of its defeat in Gaza, the IDF is eroding support for the terrorist group.

Hamas senior leader Yahya Sinwar in a terror tunnel underneath the southern Gaza City of Khan Yunis, Oct. 10, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Hamas senior leader Yahya Sinwar in a terror tunnel underneath the southern Gaza City of Khan Yunis, Oct. 10, 2023. Credit: IDF.
Yoni Ben Menachem
Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. He served as director general and chief editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Israel’s Feb. 13 decision to release footage of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and his family in Hamas’s Gaza tunnels, along with images of his stacks of money and safes, was strategic and impactful.

The revelations have sparked outrage among Gazans, further exposing Hamas’s corruption and the self-serving agenda of its leadership, particularly that of Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, and Muhammad Deif, the head of the terror group’s “military wing.” The IDF’s successful rescue of two hostages from Rafah and the elimination of their Hamas guards and fighters served as another psychological blow to Hamas supporters.

Sinwar, along with his close associates, is now on the run, using Israeli hostages as human shields. It is speculated that he may have moved from Khan Yunis to Rafah through the tunnels.

Although Sinwar is reportedly isolated and not directly involved in hostage negotiations, his group remains defiant and may resort to extreme measures to evade capture.

Despite rumors of fragmented communication with Hamas’s overseas leadership, the veracity of such claims remains unconfirmed.

The Israel Defense Forces should continue releasing visual materials exposing Hamas’s military leadership in tunnels to bolster the psychological impact on Gazans, signaling their leaders’ vulnerability.

With Hamas leaders on the run, their decision-making may become erratic.

Simultaneously, efforts should be made to prevent Hamas from controlling humanitarian aid distribution. Weakening Hamas’ grip on power will reinforce a sense of defeat among Gazans.

By systematically undermining Hamas’s influence and increasing the perception of their defeat, the IDF aims to erode support for the terrorist group among Gaza’s populace.

Originally published by The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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