Muhammad Deif, the military leader of Hamas

Muhammad Deif, the mastermind of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, is the one behind the Hamas attacks on Israel. The guest is not his real name. Mohamed Diab Al-Masry, known by his nom de guerre, is the architect of the unprecedented attack on Israel. An operation prepared by a man who had been the most wanted man in Tel Aviv for years, and who tried to eliminate him in every way. The commander of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades since July 2002, he joined Hamas in 1990 and has survived several Israeli attempts on his life over the past 20 years.

In the 2014 raid he lost his wife and seven-month-old son, while the last known attempt to eliminate him dates back to Operation Guardian of the Walls in 2021. Biographies mention six or even eight episodes of targeted attacks. Procedures were taken to kill him, but he always escaped being seriously injured. No one is sure, but there are those who say that he lost an eye and a hand or that he cannot walk because of the effects of shrapnel.

Little is known about the guest. No one really knows him except his family and a small group of Hamas members. There are currently three photos of the guest: a very old one, one of him in the mask, and a photo of his shadow. What is currently being circulated dates back to 2001, when he was released from a Palestinian Authority prison at the request of Israel. The following year, 2002, he assumed command of Al-Qassam after the assassination of its commander-in-chief, Salah Shehadeh.

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Deif moved in the shadows, ordering Hamas members to leave and take control of Israeli positions, killing two Israelis and taking others hostage. His first specialty was hostage-taking, an action that has been widely repeated in recent hours. But Deif became the inventor of the Qassam rockets raining down on Israel: when fired by thousands, together, as at this moment, they penetrate Iron Dome, Israel’s powerful defense system.

In addition to the missiles, Al-Deif works as an engineer for the Gaza tunnel network. Here, during the harsh years of siege imposed by Israel, which calculated the average minimum calories needed for Palestinian survival at about 2,279 calories per capita, basic necessities were smuggled. Over time, the so-called underground movement in Gaza became a bargaining point that allowed Hamas to launch sustained attacks against Israel. Deif had evaded Israel’s powerful intelligence network for 20 years, and used this moment to prove to the world, in brutal fashion, that he was still under the control of the head of Hamas’s military command, and that he had only one goal: to gain power. In Ramallah in the West Bank.


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