Hamas’ military commander known as ‘The Shadow’ is pictured for the first time in years as IDF manhunt rages on: Terror suspect is ‘missing both legs, an arm and an eye’
- Muhammad Deif, the commander of Hamas's military wing, the Qassam Brigades, has been on Israel's most wanted list since 1995
- On Wednesday, Israeli television station Channel 12 aired a new photo of Deif – the first new photo of him in years
- The photo was found in Gaza and it was unclear when it was taken: an IDF spokesperson declined to say whether they thought they were close to finding it
Israeli television has broadcast the first new photo in years of the secretive commander of Hamas's military wing, raising hopes that the IDF may be closing in on the man known as “The Shadow.”
Muhammad Deif is the leader of the Qassam Brigades, which were behind the October 7 terrorist attack.
The new photo of him was also obtained in Gaza, The times of Israel said. It is unclear when the photo was taken, but Deif appears significantly older than in the previously shared photo of him.
Deif has been on Israel's most wanted list since 1995 and has survived at least seven Israeli assassination attempts. The messenger reported – most recently in May 2021.
Deif is believed to have lost both legs and an arm due to the years of attempts on his life, and is now using a wheelchair: the new photo also shows him apparently missing an eye.
A new photo apparently shows Muhammad Deif, the leader of the Qassam Brigades. It is unclear when it was taken, but was found in Gaza, Channel 12 reported
The previous – also undated – photo of Deif shows a much younger and slimmer man, with dark hair
The terrorist leader narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 2014, but the attack missed him and killed his wife, son and three-year-old daughter instead.
The other murder attempts occurred in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006, the latter of which was believed to have resulted in the loss of his legs.
IDF forces found wheelchairs they believe were used by Deif in a tunnel network uncovered in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood.
However, a new video has reportedly been found in Gaza – although not made public – showing him walking on two legs but limping.
Vice Admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesman, declined to comment when asked by The Times of Israel whether the photo suggested they were getting closer to finding him.
Deif is one of the IDF's main targets as they seek to root out and destroy Hamas' top leadership.
He is believed to have been involved in the planning and execution of numerous terrorist attacks, including many bus bombings in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Ruins of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, are pictured on Christmas Eve after an Israeli airstrike
Firefighters struggle to extinguish a fire in Gaza City on Wednesday
Deif was one of four Hamas leaders with a bounty on their heads
Deif's importance is underscored by his appearance on kites dropped by IDF forces over Gaza in early December, offering a reward for any information leading to the arrest of four top Hamas officials.
At the top of the list was Yahya Sinwar – the leader of Hamas in Gaza.
Israeli forces offered $400,000 for information on Sinwar, and $300,000 for information on his brother, Muhammed Sinwar, who commands the terror group's southern brigade.
They promised $200,000 for information on Rafa'a Salameh, the commander of Hamas's Khan Younis battalion; and $100,000 for information about Deif.
So far, none of the senior commanders have been captured or killed in the nearly three months of fighting.
Gaza officials say more than 21,000 people have been killed and 55,000 injured.