Hamas leader cornered in bunker as Israel 'tightens the chokehold' around Gaza City

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant

A Hamas leader who devised the October 7 terror attack has been surrounded in a bunker while the Israeli defence minister says they are 'tightening the chokehold' around Gaza City

Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler

Published: 08/11/2023

- 07:49

Updated: 08/11/2023

- 08:20

Israel say Hamas’s leader in Gaza is 'a dead man walking'

A Hamas leader who devised the October 7 terror attack has been surrounded in a bunker while the Israeli says they are “tightening the chokehold” around Gaza City.

Yoav Gallant said the Israel Defence Forces had attacked the terrorist group’s strongholds in Gaza’s main population centre “from all directions, in perfect co-ordination with maritime and aerial forces”.

The defence minister added that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza is “a dead man walking" after troops surrounded him.

Sinwar was said to be “hiding in his bunker ... without contact with his associates”, according to Gallant who has vowed to eliminate him.

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The 61-year-old has been a long-standing target for Israeli forces and has prioritised following Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on October 7.

It is thought he was one of the key organisers behind the attack which saw 1,400 deaths and more than 240 were kidnapped as hostages.

In 1989 Sinwar was convicted of killing two Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers and four Palestinians said by Hamas to have been working with Israel and spent 22 years in Israeli prison.

He was released in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap deal which saw Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in Gaza, set free after five years as a hostage.


After the war, Gallant said that neither Israel nor Hamas would rule Gaza and all hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups would need to be released before the was a ceasefire.

He said: “Humanitarian pauses, to me, means first and foremost the captives held by animals. There will be no humanitarian truce without [the return of] the hostages.”

Yesterday, an IDF commander confirmed that the army had moved further into Gaza than in any round of fighting since Israel withdrew from the territory in 2005.

“For the first time in decades, IDF is fighting in the heart of Gaza City. At the heart of terrorism,” Major General Yaron Finkelman said.

GazaIsraeli soldiers drive in a tank by Israel's borderReuters

Israeli intelligence believe that thousands of Hamas fighters remain underground in the group’s tunnel network.

Troops are now focusing on reaching the Hamas headquarters and command centres in Gaza City.

The IDF believe these are under the Al Shifaa hospital and other hospitals in central Gaza, while the areas are also where most of the remaining civilian population have sought shelter.

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