May 20, 2024

Marwan Issa, who was the target of an Israeli strike in central Gaza over the weekend, is one of three leaders of Hamas in Gaza who Israel says were the main planners of the Oct. 7 attack, which killed over 1,200 people and led to the kidnapping of about 240 others, according to Israeli officials. It remained unclear on Tuesday whether the strike had hit him.

Here is what to know about the most senior Hamas leaders in Gaza:

Mr. Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing, would be the highest ranking Hamas military official to be killed by Israel in recent years. Like many other senior Hamas military leaders in Gaza, Mr. Issa has kept a low profile, rarely appearing in public, in part to avoid targeted strikes like the one over the weekend that Israel’s military said hit an underground space he had used.

An Israeli army spokesman described Mr. Issa as having helped plan the Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7. In addition to his military role, Mr. Issa served as a negotiator in talks that led to a cease-fire following a nearly two-week flare-up with Israel in 2021, as well as a deal in 2011, when one captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Yahya Sinwar at a rally in Gaza City last year.Credit…Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp, which was set up after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and has since become a permanent community, part of the wider city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. He founded a precursor to Hamas’s military wing, called Al Majd, and helped establish Hamas in 1987. At the time, he was responsible for identifying and punishing Palestinians suspected of infringing “morality” codes or collaborating with Israel.

In 1988, Mr. Sinwar was arrested by Israeli forces and sentenced to four life sentences for his role in killing four Palestinians suspected of working with Israel, according to Israeli court records.

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