The man believed by many to be the mastermind behind the 10/7 attack on Israel is Yahya Sinwar. Sinwar spent 22 years in an Israeli prison after he was convicted in 1989 of killing Palestinian informants and plotting the death of Israeli soldiers. He might still be there except that in 2011 he was released as part of a deal to secure the release of Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit who had been kidnapped and held by Hamas for five years. Ever since the 10/7 attack, Israel’s military has been looking for Sinwar.
In early December of this year the Israeli military said it had surrounded the home of Sinwar in his hometown of Khan Younis in the southern half of the Gaza Strip. They didn’t find him.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Dec. 6 that it was “only a matter of time” before he was located. Israeli military leaders have described Sinwar as “a dead man walking.”
The precise whereabouts of Sinwar is still unknown. He is believed by Israeli officials and others to be hiding in Hamas’ vast network of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip.
Monday the Times of Israel reported that the IDF had a good idea where Sinwar was but couldn’t launch a strike because he was using Israeli hostages as human shields.
Israel appears to know the exact location of Hamas military leader Yahya Sinwar, the ruler of the Gaza Strip and the mastermind of the October 7 terror attacks, according to multiple reports.
However, Sinwar has surrounded himself with a large number of living Israeli hostages, which is preventing the Israel Defense Forces from carrying out a strike on him, Israel Hayom reported Monday…
One of the hostages, Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, who was released from Hamas captivity in October, revealed in an interview that she met Sinwar during her time held in Gaza — and was not afraid to tell him what she thought.
“Sinwar was with us three-four days after we got there,” Lifshitz told the Davar news outlet. “I asked him how he wasn’t ashamed, to do such a thing to people who for years support peace? He didn’t answer. He was quiet.”
Today the NY Times reports that the CIA is working to collect information on top Hamas leaders including Sinwar. That information appears to either back up or be the source of the information about the whereabouts of Sinwar.
A new task force assembled in the days after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and some 240 taken hostage back in Gaza, has uncovered information on Hamas’s top leaders, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence assessments…
Israel would score a major victory if it kills or captures Yahya Sinwar, believed to be an architect of the Oct. 7 attack, or Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’s military wing. Such an operational success would likely give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu more latitude with the Israeli public to wind down the military campaign in Gaza.
Targeting Mr. Sinwar is not simply a matter of finding him. Mr. Sinwar is believed to be hiding in the deepest part of the tunnel network under Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to U.S. officials. But he is also believed to be surrounded by hostages and using them as human shields, vastly complicating a military operation to capture or kill him.
The US is reportedly pushing Israel to get away from dropping bombs on Gaza which results in civilian deaths and instead focus on capturing or killing the top leaders. There’s some evidence Israel may agree as the IDF has recently been pulling out of northern Gaza and instead focusing on Khan Younis where Sinwar, and possibly other leaders, are believed to be hiding. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal argued that rather than finding and shooting Sinwar, Israel should try to capture him alive.
Once found, many expect Israel to dispatch Mr. Sinwar with haste. But what if he were captured alive, brought back to Jerusalem, and put on trial like Adolf Eichmann more than 60 years ago?
Eichmann, a high-ranking Nazi SS officer, was the primary organizer of the mass murder of millions of Jews, a task he appeared to relish. At the end of the war he was captured by U.S. forces, but he escaped and changed his identity. In 1950, with the help of Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, he escaped to Argentina.
A decade later, Mossad agents confirmed that Eichmann was leading a quiet life near Buenos Aires, working as a factory foreman and taking public transportation to and from work every day. It would have been much easier for Israeli agents to kill this monster quietly on a dark street and be on their way. It certainly would have been justified.
Israel capture Eichmann and flew him back to Israel for trial:
The prime minister’s gamble paid off nevertheless. The 1961 trial drew hundreds of reporters and the world watched as witness after witness described in excruciating detail what it was like to arrive in packed boxcars at Auschwitz, Treblinka or Buchenwald with their families and children. Witnesses told heartbreaking stories of standing in long lines waiting to be separated from their loved ones for the last time. Able-bodied men were sent to the right to work as slave laborers; the elderly, young and women were sent to the left, directly to the gas chambers.
It’s an appealing idea to put Sinwar on trial and make an example of him in front of the world, but I think there’s an obvious downside. Sinwar has already been released from prison once because Hamas kidnapped a single Israeli soldier. No doubt Sinwar has tens of thousands of fans in Gaza who would do the same again if her wound up in prison. That’s a risk Israel shouldn’t take a second time.