Israel checks reports Hamas military No.2 Issa killed in Gaza By Reuters


© Reuters. Smoke rises during an Israeli ground operation in Khan Younis, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip March 11, 202


By Maayan Lubell, Nidal al-Mughrabi

JERUSALEM/CAIRO (Reuters) -Israel was checking on Monday whether Hamas’s deputy military leader had been killed in an airstrike in Gaza, Israeli media said, as prospects faded of talks securing a ceasefire to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

If his death is confirmed, Marwan Issa will be the highest-ranking official from the Islamist militant movement killed by Israel in five months of war that have pulverised the coastal enclave and killed thousands of Palestinians.

Issa, known as the ‘Shadow Man’ for his ability to stay out of sight, was one of three top Hamas leaders who planned the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war and are believed to have been directing Hamas’s military operations since then.

Israeli Army Radio said the Al-Nusseirat camp in central Gaza had been bombed on Saturday night following intelligence about the location of Issa, second-in-command of Hamas’s military wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades.

The attack killed five people, the report said.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel was checking whether the fatalities included Issa.

A Palestinian source said the Israelis had hit a place where they thought Issa was hiding, but could give no details of his fate. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Hamas officials did not immediately comment on the media reports. 

On Sunday, in a statement rounding up operations from the previous 24 hours, Israel said its forces had killed militants in central Gaza but did not mention the camp. 

“There still aren’t indications with certainty,” Chili Tropper, an Israeli cabinet minister, said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 13 television on Monday.

“If indeed Marwan Issa was eliminated, who in many ways is Hamas’ military chief of staff, it’s a great achievement by the IDF and Shin Bet [Israeli security agency],” he said. “I still don’t know if he was eliminated. I’m waiting patiently to receive the indications.”


Issa is on Israel’s “most wanted” list, together with Mohammed Deif, commander of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and Hamas’s Gaza leader, Yahya Sinwar.

Fighters from Hamas, which administers Gaza, killed 1,200 people in the Oct. 7 attack and took 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. 

More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since then, according to Gaza authorities, while infrastructure has been obliterated and hundreds of thousands are close to famine.

Issa’s death, if confirmed, could also complicate efforts to secure a ceasefire and the release of hostages, although Israel says talks are continuing through Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

Hamas blames Israel for refusing to give guarantees to end the war and withdraw troops. Israel wants a temporary truce to allow an exchange of hostages, but has said it will not stop its war until it has defeated Hamas.

Negotiators had wanted a halt in hostilities for Ramadan, which began on Monday, but an Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza City killed 16 people and wounded several others, Palestinian health officials said.

Two Palestinians were also killed in an airstrike on a house in Khan Younis as residents were breaking the first day of the Ramadan fast, Gaza health officials said.

The IDF did not immediately comment on those incidents. But it said its forces had killed about 15 militants in close combat and airstrikes in central Gaza and that commandos had targeted sites believed to be used by Hamas militants in the southern city of Khan Younis.

Pro-Palestinian groups elsewhere continued to make their presence felt. Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it had launched several drones at an outpost in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Monday, and two other incidents were reported in Red Sea waters where Yemen’s Houthis have been attacking ships.


The conflict has displaced most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people, with many cramped into makeshift tents with little in the way of food or basic medical supplies in the southern city of Rafah.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres appealed for a truce in Gaza, the release of hostages and the removal of obstacles to life-saving aid. He said a threatened Israeli assault on Rafah could put the people of Gaza in “an even deeper circle of hell.”

The United Nations estimates a quarter of the population are at risk of starvation, and is barely scratches the surface of daily needs. Aid agencies are now focusing their efforts on delivering aid by sea and through air drops. 

Jordanian state media said there had been seven humanitarian air drops on Monday, with Jordan, the U.S., Egypt, France and Belgium taking part. Morocco was also scheduled to join the effort, Israeli media reported. 

The U.S. military said it had parachuted more than 27,600 meals and 25,900 bottles of water into northern Gaza.

A government source in Cyprus said a vessel carrying 200 tonnes of aid was scheduled to set sail on Monday. The U.S. military said its vessel, the General Frank S. Besson, was also en route to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza by sea. 

Senior Hamas official Basem Naim welcomed the aid corridor but urged the United States to work to end the war.

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