Middle east

Israel confirms, Hamas doubts the killing of the second man in the Qassam Brigades

If Marwan Issa's death is confirmed, he will be the highest-ranking military commander in Hamas assassinated by Israel in its ongoing war since October 7, 2023, in the Palestinian territory

The Israeli army officially confirmed Tuesday that Marwan Issa, the second man in the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, was killed, while a senior leader in the Palestinian movement questioned the accuracy of the Israeli narrative, saying it cannot be trusted, and the Qassam Brigades did not confirm his death.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagarie said, “We can confirm that Marwan Issa was eliminated two weeks ago in a strike we carried out,” adding, “The army also liquidated Ghazi Taima, the third man and assistant to Marwan Issa, according to precise and unusual information from the Shin Bet, the internal security service.”

Hagarie added, “We are conducting a concentrated and continuous campaign against Al-Shifa Hospital and have arrested three Hamas leaders,” while it was announced on March 11 that “Israeli warplanes attacked an underground base belonging to Hamas leaders in central Gaza near Nusseirat, used by two senior officials in the organization, including Marwan Issa,” the second-in-command of the Qassam Brigades.

Israel described Issa as one of the organizers of the October 7 attack and he is the most prominent member of Hamas to be killed since the start of the war in Gaza about six months ago.

On his part, Hamas Political Bureau member Ezat al-Rashq commented on the army’s announcement, saying, “There is no trust in the occupation’s narrative about the assassination of the brother, the martyr commander Marwan Issa, and the final decision belongs to the leadership of the Qassam Brigades.”

Al-Rashq considered that the timing of Issa’s killing announcement aims to “cover up the crises facing Benjamin Netanyahu and the failure of the Israeli army to achieve its goals,” while the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, did not respond to the Israeli army‘s claim.

Despite about 6 months passing of a devastating ongoing war on Gaza, where about 2.3 million Palestinians live, Israel has not been able to eliminate Hamas or release the prisoners.

Marwan Issa, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Qassam Brigades under Mohammed Deif, was born in Gaza in 1965, to a family displaced from the village of Beit Tima near Ashkelon in the occupied territories in 1948.

Accused of joining Hamas, the Israeli army arrested him during the First Intifada (Stone Intifada) in 1987 for 5 years, and he was elected in 2021 as a member of the movement’s Political Bureau.

Issa survived assassination attempts, one of which was in 2006 when he attended a meeting also attended by Deif, and his house was bombed twice in 2014 and 2021, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

If Issa’s death is confirmed, he will be the highest-ranking military commander of Hamas that Israel has assassinated in its ongoing war since October 7, 2023, in the Palestinian territory, which has been under siege for 17 years.

The Israeli war on Gaza has left tens of thousands of civilian casualties, mostly children and women, and caused massive destruction and famine, claiming the lives of children and the elderly, according to Palestinian and UN data.

Israel continues this war despite the issuance by the UN Security Council on Monday of a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire during the month of Ramadan.

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