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Yoav Gallant claims Hamas is looking for a successor to Sinwar

UPI –  Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant alleged Sunday that Hamas is looking for a possible successor to Yahya Sinwar, the head of the Palestinian militia.

“IDF forces continue the activity in Khan Yunis and deepen the rift in Hamas, the Khan Yunis Brigade has been defeated and no longer functions as a military entity,” Gallant claimed in a post on social media. “Hamas is looking for a replacement for Sinwar, the Hamas Gaza station does not answer and has ceased to function.”

Sinwar, 61, has led the Iran-supported militia since 2017. Israeli forces backed by the United States have been trying to track him down since Hamas led its attack against Israel on October 7.

The IDF has been unable to pinpoint Sinwar’s precise location, believing he is likely in an underground bunker in Khan Younis.

The militia leader was born in a refugee camp in Khan Younis, then under Egyptian rule, to parents who were forced out of their homes by Jewish settlers during the 1948 war when Israel declared its independence.

The expulsion of around 750,000 Palestinians from their homes came in a campaign known as the Nakba, in which at least a dozen women were raped by Israeli forces and 15,000 other people were killed during a series of massacres.

The United States, which has declared Sinwar to be a terrorist, supported the fledgling Israel at the time and has remained its closest ally.

Over the years, Sinwar was one of many Palestinians arrested by Israel for supporting a free Palestine. His rise to power in Gaza began in the 1980s, when he earned a reputation for killing Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.

Sinwar allegedly planned the abduction of two Israeli soldiers and four Palestinians suspected of cooperating with Israel in 1988 during a series of protests and riots against Israeli occupation, known as the First Intifada. He was arrested again and sentenced to four life sentences in 1989.

He served 22 years in prison but was released in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier who had been captured by Hamas. By 2017, he had risen in the ranks and won a secret election to replace Ismail Haniyeh, who remains a senior political leader of Hamas from Qatar.

Over the years, Hamas has fought multiple wars against Israeli forces occupying Gaza where it remains popular for its stances of Palestinian sovereignty. Hamas has been condemned over the years as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.

Israel has accused Sinwar of organizing the attack on October 7, which many have characterized as a terror attack. Hamas has blamed the attack on the killing of hundreds of Palestinians and arrest of many more by Israel in the months before the war broke out. Israel had also raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

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