March 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

White House: Israel Killed Hamas Deputy Chief

March 18, 2024 | Flash Brief

White House: Israel Killed Hamas Deputy Chief

Latest Developments

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed on March 18 that Israeli forces killed Marwan Issa, deputy chief of Hamas military operations, in an airstrike last week. Issa, 59, constitutes one of the most senior Hamas figures killed during the more than five-month-old war in Gaza. Issa, also known as Abu al-Baraa, has acted as a liaison between Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar, the Palestinian terrorist group’s top leader in Gaza. Issa was also among the architects of the October 7 cross-border rampage by Hamas that triggered the Gaza war. The State Department added Issa to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in 2019.

Expert Analysis

“In only five months, Israel has killed two of Hamas’s top five military commanders, dismantled two-thirds of its military battalions, and destroyed or seriously damaged critical elements of its terror tunnel infrastructure. With a decisive battle weeks away in Rafah, and Israeli intelligence improving every day about the locations of Hamas terrorists, the days of the remaining top leaders of Hamas inside and outside Gaza are numbered. They are dead men walking.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The elimination of Marwan Issa marks a noteworthy achievement for Israel and a setback for Hamas. His demise serves as a clear warning to Hamas leaders, especially those hiding in Gaza, that the architects of October 7 will be held accountable. Additionally, Issa’s death undermines Hamas’s bargaining power, allowing Israel to dictate terms for a potential temporary ceasefire.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hamas West Bank Chief Eliminated

On January 2, a drone strike in Beirut attributed to Israel by Lebanese authorities killed senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri. The strike on a Hamas media office in the southern Dahiyeh suburb — a Hezbollah stronghold in the Lebanese capital — also killed six other Hamas members, including two military commanders. Arouri was known for perpetrating major Palestinian terrorist attacks, particularly in the West Bank. There, he orchestrated the 2014 abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers, igniting conflict in Gaza. After initially operating in Turkey, Arouri later moved to Lebanon, where he oversaw coordination with Hezbollah and their patron, Iran.

Senior Hamas Commander Killed in Gaza

Hamas confirmed on October 17 that an Israeli airstrike in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza killed senior military commander Ayman Nofal. A member of Hamas’s General Military Council, Nofal played a key role in coordinating operations with other armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

IDF targets Hamas leaders in Gaza,” by Seth J. Frantzman

Top Hamas Terrorist Targeted, Fate Unclear,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas’s Top Terrorist Leadership,” FDD Insight “Hamas No. 3 Killed in Beirut Blast,” FDD Flash Brief


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