Hamas terror leader Yahya Sinwar has not been seen in public in recent weeks – and that is because he is in hiding, Channel 12 quoted Gaza sources as saying Tuesday. “Ever since the elimination of [top Islamic Jihad terrorist] Abu-Alata, Sinwar has not been seen,” the sources said. “He doesn’t make speeches, doesn’t attend rallies, he has disappeared. Rumors are that he is in a bunker, fearing that Israel may target him too.”
Abu-Alata, one of the heads of Islamic Jihad in Gaza, was eliminated in a precision strike in November by Israeli forces. The elimination led to massive rocket attacks on southern Israel, which Israel took advantage of to decimate Islamic Jihad’s infrastructure in Gaza.
Hamas is concerned that the same thing could happen to it; the elimination of Sinwar would lead to a major response by Israel, which would then respond with full firepower, decimating the organization. To prevent that, the sources said Sinwar was lying low so Israel could not set off that scenario.
Sinwar was not the only top Hamas terrorist watching his back. Other top terrorists, while not in hiding, have changed their residences and their routes, have exchanged their phones or are going without – so they cannot be located by GPS – and sleep in a different place every night. “The elimination of Abu-Alata had caused hysteria in Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” the sources said. “Each one believes that he could be next.”
Part of the problem for the terrorists is that it is not clear how Israel was able to so precisely target Abu-Alata, who was known for his caution. “They are still trying to figure out how Israel found him. It’s clear that someone cooperated with Israel, and they are trying to determine who that was, so they can punish him and prevent further eliminations,” the sources added.
Sinwar has been running Hamas since 2018. He was released from an Israeli prison in 2011 in the deal to release IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and immediately returned to terror activities. Sinwar is a founder of the Hamas military wing and one of the kidnappers of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman, whom he helped murder.