Middle East Crisis: Netanyahu Rebuffs Biden and Vows to Press Ahead With Rafah Invasion

Middle East Crisis: Netanyahu Rebuffs Biden and Vows to Press Ahead With Rafah Invasion

Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s navy wing in Gaza and a presumed mastermind of the Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel, was confirmed dead on Monday by a senior U.S. official after an Israeli airstrike greater than per week in the past.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. nationwide safety adviser, advised reporters that Mr. Issa, one if the highest-ranking officers in Hamas, had been killed. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari mentioned on March 11 that Israeli navy warplanes had focused Mr. Issa and one other senior Hamas official in an underground compound in central Gaza.

With his loss of life, Mr. Issa, who had been amongst Israel’s most needed males, grew to become the senior-most Hamas chief to be killed in Gaza because the begin of the struggle. Israeli officers have characterised the strike as a breakthrough of their marketing campaign to wipe out the Hamas management in Gaza.

But specialists cautioned that his loss of life wouldn’t have a devastating impact on Hamas’s management construction. Israel has killed Hamas’s political and navy leaders prior to now, solely to see them shortly changed.

Here is a more in-depth take a look at Mr. Issa and what his loss of life means for Hamas and its management.

What was Mr. Issa’s position in Hamas?

Mr. Issa, who was 58 or 59 on the time of his loss of life, had served since 2012 as a deputy to Mohammed Deif, the elusive chief of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s navy wing. Mr. Issa assumed the position after the assassination of one other high commander, Ahmed al-Jabari.

Mr. Issa served each on Hamas’s navy council and in its Gaza political workplace, overseen by Yahya Sinwar, the group’s highest-ranking official within the enclave. Mr. Issa was described by Palestinian analysts and former Israeli safety officers as an necessary strategist who performed a key position as a liaison between Hamas’s navy and political leaders.

Salah al-Din al-Awawdeh, a Palestinian analyst near Hamas, described Mr. Issa’s place within the group as “a part of the entrance rank of the navy wing’s management.”

Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman, the previous Israeli navy intelligence chief, mentioned Mr. Issa was concurrently Hamas’s “protection minister,” its deputy navy commander and its “strategic thoughts.”

What does his loss of life imply for the group?

Experts described Mr. Issa as an necessary affiliate of Mr. Deif and Mr. Sinwar, although they mentioned his loss of life didn’t characterize a risk to the group’s survival.

“There’s all the time a alternative,” Mr. Awawdeh mentioned. “I don’t assume the assassination of any member of the navy wing will affect its actions.”

Michael Milshtein, a former Israeli navy intelligence officer and an knowledgeable on Palestinian affairs, mentioned Mr. Issa’s loss of life was a major blow to the Qassam Brigades, although he conceded it wasn’t “the top of the world” for Hamas.

“He had a whole lot of expertise,” Mr. Milshtein mentioned. “His loss of life is an enormous loss for Hamas, nevertheless it isn’t a loss that may result in its collapse and it gained’t have an effect on it for a very long time. In per week or two, they’ll overcome it.”

Mr. Milshtein added that though Mr. Issa’s opinion was valued on the highest ranges of Hamas, the very fact he didn’t instantly command fighters meant his loss of life didn’t depart a gaping gap in Hamas’s operations.

How has he been described?

Mr. Issa was a lesser-known member of Hamas’s high brass, sustaining a low profile and infrequently showing in public.

Gerhard Conrad, a former German intelligence officer who met Mr. Issa greater than a decade in the past, described him as a “decisive and quiet” particular person missing charisma. “He was not very eloquent, however he knew what to say, and he was straight to the purpose,” Mr. Conrad mentioned in an interview.

Mr. Conrad mentioned he met Mr. Issa, Mr. al-Jabari and Mahmoud al-Zahar, one other senior Hamas official, about ten instances between 2009 and 2011 in Gaza City. The males met as a part of an effort to dealer a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.

“He was the grasp of the info on the prisoners,” Mr. Conrad mentioned of Mr. Issa. “He had all of the names to be negotiated on.”

Mr. Conrad, nonetheless, mentioned it was obvious on the time that Mr. Issa was a subordinate to Mr. al-Jabari. “He was a type of chief of workers,” he mentioned.

It was solely after Mr. al-Jabari’s assassination that Mr. Issa’s prominence grew, however he nonetheless was eager to remain out of view. Few pictures of Mr. Issa are within the public area.

Mr. Awawdeh, the analyst, referred to as Mr. Issa a person who favored to “stay within the shadows” and who seldom granted interviews to the media.

In a type of uncommon interviews, Mr. Issa spoke in 2021 about his position within the oblique talks that resulted in Israel exchanging greater than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for a single Israeli soldier, Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit, and his hopes for a future battle with Israel.

“Even if the resistance in Palestine is monitored by the enemy in any respect hours, it can shock the enemy,” he advised Al Jazeera on the time.

In a separate interview with a Hamas publication in 2005, Mr. Issa lauded militants who raided Israeli settlements and navy bases, calling the actions “heroic” and an “superior exercise.”

What is understood about his adolescence?

Mr. Issa was born within the Bureij space of central Gaza in 1965, however his household hails from what’s now the Ashkelon space in Israel.

A Hamas member for many years, he was concerned with the militant group concerned pursuing Palestinians who have been believed to have collaborated with Israel, in response to Mr. Awawdeh.

Mr. Issa frolicked in prisons operated by each Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Admiral Hagari has mentioned that Mr. Issa helped plan the Hamas-led Oct. 7 assault. Mr. Issa can be thought to have deliberate operations aimed toward infiltrating Israeli settlements in the course of the second intifada within the 2000s, Mr. Milshtein mentioned.

A correction was made on March 18, 2024

An earlier model of this text misstated the surname of a former Israeli navy intelligence chief. He is Tamir Hayman, not Heyman.

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