November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Vows to Eliminate Hamas Terror Leader Yahya Sinwar

November 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Vows to Eliminate Hamas Terror Leader Yahya Sinwar

Latest Developments

Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed on November 4 that Israel will target Hamas leaders who were responsible for the October 7 massacre of 1,400 people in Israel. “We will get to Yahya Sinwar and we will eliminate him,” Gallant said. He also said that Israel has already eliminated 12 Hamas commanders who were in charge of battalions of terrorists. Israel launched a major ground campaign in Gaza on October 27 after three weeks of air strikes targeting Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas leaders in Gaza have committed crimes against humanity. They plotted and carried out the October 7 massacre of 1,400 people in Israel and they continue to terrorize the people of Gaza by leading the densely populated area into war. The terror group’s ability to threaten Gaza, Israel, and the region must end with this campaign.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“Israel views the elimination of terror chiefs such as Yahya Sinwar as key to eliminating Hamas in Gaza. Israel is highly unlikely to stop pursuing the architects of Hamas terrorism until they no longer pose a threat to the Jewish state.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Strikes 2,500 Hamas Targets in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has struck 2,500 targets in Gaza in more than a week of operations on the ground. IDF tanks in Gaza have been backed by infantry brigades, naval forces off the coast, and the Israeli Air Force. IDF troops are now fighting in close quarters in urban areas against Hamas. Israel faces hurdles in defeating Hamas because the group uses civilians as human shields and has targeted a humanitarian corridor that Israel set up for civilians to flee northern Gaza.

Yahya Sinwar’s Career

Yahya Sinwar was born in Gaza’s southern city of Khan Yunis in 1962. The IDF said he was involved in terrorist attacks against Israel in the 1980s and in murdering Palestinians who helped Israel thwart terrorist attacks. These activities earned him the moniker the “butcher of Khan Yunis.” Israel imprisoned Sinwar in 1988 and subsequently sentenced him to four life terms. However, in 2011, Israel released Sinwar as part of a prisoner deal with Hamas, which freed IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 jailed Palestinians.

The United States sanctioned Sinwar in 2015, listing him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. In April 2018, Sinwar vowed that Hamas “will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies.”

10 Things to Know about Hamas,” FDD Insight

Israeli Forces Tighten Net Around Hamas in Gaza City,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Attacks Israeli Soldiers as the IDF Prepares Safe Passage for Gazans on Main Highway,” FDD Flash Brief


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