One day after Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing, was heard vowing that “victory will be ours,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid told reporters on Wednesday that Deif “is a dead man.”
“For years, Mohammed Deif has been hiding in the tunnels underneath Gaza, and that is where he will remain because he’s a dead man,” Lapid said.
Deif, one of the most wanted terrorists by Israel, which has tried to kill him at least four times but failed, was heard in a recording on Tuesday as saying that Hamas was “winning the war.”
Lapid said that Deif’s remarks were reminiscent of propaganda disseminated by the Iraqi government on the eve of the fall of Saddam Hussein.
“The Iraqi information minister continued to claim that they were defeating the United States, until one day he disappeared,” he said. "[Deif] knows that sooner or later, we are going to find him and kill him.”
“Hamas has been bruised and battered, and it is scared, and it is losing this campaign thanks to the heroism and determination of the IDF and its soldiers,” the finance minister said.
“The courage, heroism, and camaraderie shown by IDF soldiers is truly amazing. The Israeli public’s willingness to enlist, the warm embrace for the soldiers and the residents of the south, and the desire to contribute and to give at any given moment really warm the heart, and it gives all of us strength.”
One of the most-wanted terrorists by the IDF, Deif broke years of silence when he resurfaced on Tuesday to declare that, "There will be no ceasefire without [Israel's] lifting of the siege" and stated, "Victory will be ours."
Deif warned that Israel's soldiers face fighters "craving to die," referring to Hamas fighters looking to achieve martyrdom in the fight against Israel.
The highly reclusive Deif has survived five previous assassination attempts by Israel, most recently when the IDF targeted his home in Khan Younis.
The house was not occupied by Deif at the time, though two people were killed as a result of the explosion.
Deif, who is partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, is the official head behind Hamas's warfare and al-Qassam brigades. He is held responsible for many terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.