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

Yahya Sinwar Is Working to Fulfill Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s Vision

Filed under: Hamas, Iran, Operation Swords of Iron

Yahya Sinwar Is Working to Fulfill Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s Vision
Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar (left), and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh commemorate the thirteenth anniversary of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s death in Gaza City on March 22, 2017. Note the empty wheelchair on the right. (

Yahya Sinwar is perceived as actively pursuing Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s goal of dismantling Israel by the year 2027.

Sinwar envisions himself as a significant and historic Muslim figure who will bring honor to the Muslim nation by defeating Israel.

The assault on Israeli communities surrounding Gaza orchestrated by Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, on October 7, 2023, marked the initial phase of his strategy to bring about the downfall of the State of Israel, as indicated by sources within Hamas in Gaza.

Sinwar anticipated that his surprise offensive would prompt the direct military engagement from Hizbullah, Iran, and other allies across the Middle East, culminating in a wide-ranging assault on Israel from multiple fronts, ultimately leading to its defeat.

Officials within Hamas in Gaza assert that Sinwar identified critical vulnerabilities in Israel’s governance, security apparatus, and societal cohesion, viewing this as an opportune moment to realize the vision of his mentor, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin appointed Yahya Sinwar as head of Hamas’ security apparatus, known as “Majd,” shortly after the organization’s inception.

The Majd primarily focused on rooting out and executing Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Sinwar was apprehended by the Israel Security Agency in Khan Yunis in 1989. He was convicted of the murder of several Palestinians suspected of collaboration and was subsequently released from Israeli custody in 2011 as part of the “Shalit deal” prisoner trade.

The 80-Year Cycle

More than two decades ago, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin prophesied in an interview with Al Jazeera’s program “Evidence on the Times” that Israel would cease to exist by 2027, based on interpretations of the Quran.

He articulated his belief that historical cycles, as delineated in the Quran, would lead to Israel’s demise.

Sinwar, a devout Muslim, perceives himself as a leader akin to Salah a-Din Al-Ayoubi (“Saladin”), the Muslim general who initiated a successful jihad in 1187 AD, ultimately capturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

Sinwar began devising plans for the assault on Israel following Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021, during which he identified vulnerabilities in Israel’s defenses.

He named the rocket attack on Jerusalem the “Sword of Jerusalem” and the broader assault on Israel on October 7, 2024, “The Flood of Al-Aqsa,” despite the attack’s lack of direct connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A potent anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) manufactured in Gaza was named the “Yassin” in honor of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Qassam Brigades Unveil Al-Yassin Anti-armor Missile - VIDEO
(The Palestine Chronicle)

The Hamas leader planned for the assault, along with simultaneous attacks by Iran’s proxies, to be perceived in the Muslim world as a unified Islamic response against Israel, despite the disparate ideological affiliations involved.

“On November 9, 2023, a month after Hamas invaded southern Israel and massacred over 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7, the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei published a video that included never-before-seen footage of a May 1998 meeting in Tehran between Khamenei and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who had arrived in Iran at the head of a Hamas delegation. Yassin was assassinated by Israel in 2004.” (MEMRI)
Mohammad Khatami and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the head of Hamas, in Tehran on May 2, 1998. (AP Photo/Canadian Press, Mohammad Sayyad)

Sinwar’s collaboration with Iran parallels Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s attitude toward the Iranians. While opposing Iran’s religious Shia theology, Yassin, Sinwar, and Hamas, the Sunni jihadist organization, align and collaborate with Iran’s anti-Israel goals and methods.

Despite the IDF’s capture of approximately 60% of the Gaza Strip and the elimination of a significant portion of Hamas’ military capabilities, Yahya Sinwar remains confident in his ability to overcome Israel.

He believes that through the leverage of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, he can compel Israel to cease hostilities and withdraw entirely from Gaza, thus securing his reign and earning renown in Muslim history.

Therefore, it is imperative for the conflict to conclude with a decisive Israeli victory – as well as Sinwar’s demise – thereby thwarting his ambitions and preventing Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s vision from taking root among the populace of Gaza.