Israel denies that the Hamas leader in Gaza has escaped to Egypt via a tunnel, as claimed by Arab media. A picture of an arrested man who looks very similar to Sinwar has also been circulating in recent hours

Where is Yahya Sinwar?

Yahya Sinwar, jefe de Hamas en la Franja de Gaza- MAJDI FATHI / NurPhoto / NurPhoto vía AFP
photo_camera Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip - MAJDI FATHI / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

Since the war between Israel and Hamas began on 7 October, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of the terrorist organisation in Gaza, has become the main target of Israeli forces in their military operation in the Palestinian enclave.  

  1. Internal crisis in Hamas  
  2. Israel denies Sinwar escaped to Egypt 

Following Hamas's unprecedented assault that left 1,200 Israelis dead, thousands wounded and more than 200 kidnappings, Israel vowed to eliminate the group and its leaders, led by Sinwar, Muhammad Al-Deif, the movement's military commander, and his deputy, Marwan Issa.

After months without news of Sinwar - for whom Israel is offering a 400,000 dollar reward - and amid reports that the Hamas leader fled from the north to southern Gaza hiding in a humanitarian convoy, the Israel Defense Forces last week released a video of Yahya Sinwar walking through a tunnel with several members of his family

The minute-long clip, filmed on 10 October, shows Sinwar in a tunnel under the town of Khan Younis walking behind what appears to be his wife along with three of his children and his brother, Ibrahim, according to the IDF.

"All Gaza residents can now see how Hamas leaders live underground and how they think of nothing but themselves, their families and their money," IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said, adding that Israeli forces will catch him "dead or alive"

Internal crisis in Hamas  

In recent days, Israeli media outlets such as Maariv have echoed a picture on social media of a man arrested by Israeli troops who looks very similar to Sinwar, although there is no official confirmation.

The picture was vitalised shortly after Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that Hamas was looking for "a replacement" for Sinwar.  

However, it is likely that Gallant's remarks were related to the internal Hamas crisis. These rifts came to light after disagreements over negotiations with Israel. 

Sinwar, the leader in Gaza, was willing to accept a six-month pause in order to reorganise and allow in more humanitarian aid. In contrast, Ismail Haniyeh, the group's political leader, rejected this agreement, demanding a permanent ceasefire.

Haniyeh, like many other Hamas elites, lives in luxury in Qatar, far from the ongoing fighting in Gaza.

Israel denies Sinwar escaped to Egypt 

The latest update on Sinwar's whereabouts comes from the Saudi media outlet Elaph, which - citing unnamed Israeli security sources - claims that the Hamas leader fled to Egypt with several hostages.

According to the Arab media, Sinwar is said to have used the extensive tunnel system connecting Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula to escape Israeli forces, taking several Israeli hostages with him.

Shortly after this information came to light, Israeli security officials have denied it, claiming that there is no intelligence to support the claim, reports Ynet