Following the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, Israel now plans to carry out more terror plots against other Hamas leaders.
Israel has a history of restoring to assassination as an infamous war tactic. Early this January, Israel assassinated one of top Hamas leaders, Saleh al-Arouri, in Beirut. al-Arouri was known as the second most important man in the political office of Hamas. Now, several news agencies and think tanks in and out of Israel have issued reports indicating that Israel might have plans to assassinate other leaders of this militia group in other third countries, including Turkey and Qatar.
On January 8, for example, the independent American news agency The Media Line published a list of Hamas leaders that Israel is likely to assassinate, which was republished by the Jerusalem Post of Israel a day later. The following list includes five of the most known Hamas leaders who are most likely the next target for assassination by Israel.
1- Yahya Sinwar
In addition to the above-mentioned media, other think tanks and news agencies have named Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as one of the first men wanted by Israel for assassination.
Last year, Sinwar gave a speech during a demonstration in Gaza in which he asserted: “we will come at you with an endless number of rockets. We will come at you with a flood of our countless soldiers,” threatening Israel of an all-out attack. According to Israeli estimates, Sinwar was one of the main designers of the October 7 attack. Since then, Israel is apparently unaware of his whereabouts.
2- Mohammed Sinwar
Sinwar’s younger brother, Muhammad Sinwar, who was born in Khan Yunis refugee camp in 1975, is a key figure in the al-Qassam Brigades in the Gaza Strip. His military activities began in 1991 and he rose to prominence as the commander of the Khan Yunis Brigade of Hamas in 2005. He has survived six previous Israeli assassination attempts, the last of which took place in May 2021.
In this past December, Israeli intelligence identified him as one of the main planners of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. As a result, Israel has placed him on its list of top targets for assassination and has also offered a $300,000 reward for any information on his whereabouts.
3- Khaled Mashal
Another Israeli target is Khaled Meshaal, the former head of Hamas’s political office. On September 25, 1997, Mossad agents attempted to assassinate Meshaal in Amman, the capital of Jordan, at the behest of Benjamin Netanyahu. Back then, Mossad agents used a device to quickly transfer poison to Meshal’s body to assassinate him.
After Mashaal’s condition worsened, the king of Jordan requested an antidote from Israel and threatened to sever diplomatic relations with Israel if Mashaal was killed. Israel also faced a lot of pressure from then-president of the United States, Bill Clinton, and finally agreed to deliver the antidote to Khalid Meshaal and save him from death.
Meshaal currently lives in Qatar, where he actively supports the Palestinian “resistance” against Israeli forces. Since the beginning of the current conflict, he has played an active role in attracting neighboring countries to support Palestine and boycott Israel.
4- Ismail Haniyeh
Khalid Meshaal is not the only Hamas leader residing in Qatar. Ismail Haniyeh, who is wanted by the Israeli authorities, also lives in Qatar. Haniyeh is not only the head of the political office of Hamas and previously the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but he is also the former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Mahmoud Abbas, head of the self-governing organization, took his place in 2007. Haniyeh recently traveled to Egypt to discuss with the Egyptian authorities the provision of humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
5- Mohammed Deif
Mohammad Deif, whose real name is Mohammad Al-Masri, was born in Khan Yunis refugee camp in Gaza in 1965 and is one of the leaders of the al-Qassam Brigades. He has been a key figure in Hamas since 1987 and has organized several major attacks against Israel, including the Jaffa Road bus bombing back in 1996. Deif also played a key role in the October 7 attack on Israel that started the current war between Israel and Hamas. Deif, who has survived seven Israeli assassination attempts since 1995, has been a prime target of Israeli assassination plots.