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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Yahya Sinwar Is on the Run

Filed under: Hamas, Operation Swords of Iron

Yahya Sinwar Is on the Run
Hamas’ Gaza Strip leader Yahya Sinwar in a tunnel in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, October 10, 2023 (IDF Spokesman)

The leaders of Hamas in Gaza, including Yahya Sinwar, are currently evading capture, possibly seeking refuge in the Rafah area.

It is imperative for the IDF to promptly take control of Rafah to augment efforts to locate him.

The ongoing psychological warfare between Israel and Hamas escalated when the IDF uncovered a document in Gaza outlining Hamas’ plans for psychological warfare against Israeli society in conjunction with negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages.

Israel responded by intensifying both psychological and military pressure on Hamas.

The decision on February 13, 2024, to release footage of Yahya Sinwar and his family in Hamas tunnels, along with images of his stacks of money and safes, was strategic and impactful.

Money found in one of Sinwar’s tunnel lodgings
Millions of dollars were found in one of Sinwar’s tunnel lodgings. (IDF Spokesman)

The revelations have sparked outrage among Gazans, further exposing Hamas’ corruption and its leadership’s self-serving agenda, particularly that of Sinwar and Muhammad Deif. The IDF’s successful rescue of two hostages from Rafah and the elimination of their Hamas guards and fighters served as another psychological blow to Hamas supporters.

Sinwar, along with his close associates, is now on the run, using Israeli hostages as human shields. It is speculated that he may have moved from Khan Yunis to Rafah through underground tunnels, necessitating IDF intervention in Rafah to pursue him.

Although Sinwar is isolated and not directly involved in hostage negotiations, his group remains defiant and may resort to extreme measures to evade capture.

Despite rumors of fragmented communication with Hamas’ overseas leadership, the veracity of such claims remains unconfirmed.

The IDF should continue releasing visual materials exposing Hamas’ military leadership in tunnels to bolster the psychological impact on Gazans, signaling their leaders’ vulnerability.

With Hamas leaders on the run, their decision-making may become erratic, requiring strategic military pressure and surprise tactics.

Simultaneously, efforts should be made to prevent Hamas from controlling humanitarian aid distribution. Weakening Hamas’ grip on power will reinforce a sense of defeat among Gazans.

By systematically undermining Hamas’ influence and increasing the perception of their defeat, the IDF aims to erode support for the militant group among Gaza’s populace.