(photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)
Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing Izzadin Kassam, is not only alive, but has likely returned to active duty in Gaza, sources in Israel believe.
Deif, 49, has survived numerous targeted- killing attempts by the IDF, most recently during Operation Protective Edge last summer. He is now trying to forge closer ties between Hamas and Iran, and is engaged in a tug of war with Hamas’s political wing.
Last August, Israel admitted to an assassination attempt on the terrorist leader during the Gaza war. Some reports at the time indicated they had been successful, but Hamas always maintained he was still alive. According to reports, Deif’s wife and daughter were killed in the attack targeting him.
Deif is seeking to procure more arms and funding for Hamas, according to Israel Radio. Hamas’s political wing leans toward forging ties with Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, Deif and his commanders accused Hamas’s political wing of, on the eve of last summer’s conflict, preventing the launch of a major attack against Israel. Deif’s purported plan was to send dozens of terrorists through Hamas’s cross-border tunnels and into nearby Israeli communities. Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal vetoed the attack plan, timed for just after Operation Protective Edge began.
Speaking to reporters in Gaza City, Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said the reports from Israeli security sources concerning Deif were an admission of Israel’s failure to assassinate him.
“These reports are proof that Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip by targeting civilians and UN facilities,” Haniyeh said.