White House confirms Hamas senior leader man killed in Israeli strike

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TEL AVIV :  US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed on Monday that Hamas’s number three man, Marwan Issa, was killed in a recent Israeli airstrike.

Issa is the highest-ranking Hamas figure eliminated by Israel since October 7. In the Hamas hierarchy within Gaza, he ranks behind only Gaza strongman Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif, the overall commander of Hamas forces.

“Hamas’s number three, Marwan Issa, was killed in an Israeli operation last week,” Sullivan told reporters at a White House press briefing. The rest of the top leaders are in hiding, likely deep in the Hamas tunnel network. And justice will come for them too, and we are helping to ensure that.”

Sullivan disclosed Issa’s death while briefing journalists on President Joe Biden’s phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He did not specify how the US learned of Issa’s death. Issa’s death has not been publicly confirmed by Israel or Hamas.

Issa was inside a building in the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza that was struck by Israeli aircraft on March 9. Sources in Gaza Strip told The Press Service of Israel that not all the bodies were taken to the various hospitals, raising the possibility that bodies wee being held elsewhere or still in the ruins of the compound.

The 59-year-old Issa, whose friends call him “Commando,” is considered one of the most secretive and insidious senior officials in Hamas.
In his youth, Issa was a skilled basketball player before he was arrested by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

As he climbed the ranks of Hamas, Issa participated in a series of secret meetings in Egypt on deals for the release of Hamas prisoners. Together with Saleh Arouri, Issa played a central role in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, making sure Hamas prisoners were released with an eye towards the future benefit they would bring the terror organization.

Issa was the individual most responsible for organizing Hamas’s terror cells into a more hierarchical army. He was also among the planners of revenge attacks after Israel assassinated Hamas bombmaker Yahya “The Engineer” Ayash in 1996.

Israel has made multiple attempts to assassinate Issa in the past.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, Israel recently declared 31 of them dead.(ANI/TPS)

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