February 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Tunnel Footage Shows Sinwar on the Run

February 14, 2024 | Flash Brief

Tunnel Footage Shows Sinwar on the Run

Latest Developments​

Israel aired footage on February 13 showing fugitive Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in a tunnel beneath his hometown of Khan Younis during the first days of the war. Sinwar, Hamas’s top official in Gaza, can be seen from the rear as he walks through a tunnel with his three children, one of his wives, and one of his brothers. While narrating the brief video clip, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said it shows Sinwar escaping to a safer accommodation on October 10.

In a separate and more recent clip, IDF troops could be seen inspecting a bunker used by Sinwar’s family, which they uncovered during the now more than two-month-old sweep of Khan Younis. The facility included two ornately tiled bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, a bedroom for Sinwar’s bodyguards, and an office with a safe containing millions of dollars and shekels in tightly packed stacks. Bags marked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) logo can also be seen.

Expert Analysis​

“The video of Sinwar in the tunnel was clearly seized by Israeli forces as part of their above- and below-ground operations in Khan Younis. That is ample indication of the depth to which they have penetrated this Hamas bastion — and what appears to be the good odds of them getting to the Hamas chieftain himself soon.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO 

“It is now clearer than ever that the tunnels were designed not only as terrorist fortresses and hostage dungeons but also as VIP survival shelters. That Sinwar could so blithely descend to safety with his closest kin while hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians bore the brunt of the war that he provoked speaks volumes about Hamas’s lethal cynicism.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Sinwar Remains on the Move

Sinwar has succeeded in eluding Israeli forces since Israel launched its counter-offensive after Sinwar sent thousands of Hamas terrorists on the cross-border rampage of October 7. Israeli officials believe he is in Khan Younis but moving frequently from hideout to hideout, with limited or no communication. After Israel rejected Hamas’s conditions for a hostage exchange on February 7, The Times of Israel, citing Israeli security officials, reported that Sinwar had not been in contact with other Hamas officials during the past 10 days, either because he is on the run, engaged in a tactical ruse, or unable to make contact. That raised questions about the degree to which Sinwar is directly involved in the Qatari- and Egyptian-mediated efforts to secure another truce between Hamas and Israel, for which he had previously granted final approval. The latest round of those negotiations took place in Cairo on February 13.

Sinwar agonistes,” by Clifford May

Tunnel Used by Hamas to Hold Hostages Found in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel’s Hunt for the Sinwar Brothers,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Israel Vows to Eliminate Hamas Terror Leader Yahya Sinwar,” FDD Flash Brief


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