Israeli’s military operation against Hamas is now focused on capturing Yahya Sinwar, dead or alive, Axios reports.
Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, is currently the most wanted person in the region, according to Israeli officials.
The operation’s focus on Sinwar comes after more than two months of Israeli forces targeting Hamas positions. Israeli officials believe that the capture or death of Sinwar and his close associates could hasten the military collapse of Hamas and bring an end to the ongoing war, which began after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Israeli Defense Forces have expanded their ground operation into the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, while continuing attacks on several areas in northern Gaza. Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the IDF’s chief of staff, stated that many Hamas militants are surrendering in northern Gaza, a sign of the group’s weakening military strength.
Israeli intelligence suggests that Sinwar fled from Gaza City early in the war and has been hiding in Hamas tunnels under Khan Younis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to capture Sinwar, stating, “He can run and hide but we will get him.”
Sinwar, a native of Khan Younis, has been a member of Hamas’ military wing since its inception in 1987 and has led its counterintelligence arm. He was convicted by an Israeli court in 1989 for the murder of four Palestinians accused of spying for Israel within the terror group.
After serving 22 years in prison, Sinwar was released in 2011 in a prisoner exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Upon his return to Gaza, Sinwar resumed his activities within Hamas’ political and military apparatus and was elected the organization’s leader in Gaza in 2017.
Read more at Axios