World Hamas’ Deif ‘not to be underestimated’: Israel ex-officer

Hamas’ Deif ‘not to be underestimated’: Israel ex-officer

 Mohamed Deif, the head of Palestinian Hamas movement's military wing
Mohamed Deif, the head of Palestinian Hamas movement’s military wing

 A former Israeli security chief has asserted that Mohamed Deif, the head of Palestinian Hamas movement’s military wing, was “not to be underestimated.”

“The man has gained much operational experience; he is gravely wounded from previous assassination attempts, and he has rings of operatives around him who protect him,” Yaakov Peri, the former head of Israel’s domestic security agency (Shin Bet)m said in a Thursday interview with Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

“There is no doubt he is a sophisticated operative.”

Peri’s statements came one day after Israeli authorities confirmed that Deif had survived the latest of several past attempts on his life, which was staged during a devastating Israeli offensive on the blockaded Gaza Strip last summer.

“You can say one more thing about [Deif] – he has a special kind of luck,” he said.

Peri also said that Deif, who leads Hamas’ Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades, should be regarded as a regular army commander.

“At the end of day, we are talking about the head of the military arm of Hamas. Though a thousand times different, we need to treat him as a chief of staff, as the commander of forces.”

Deif, considered the most wanted man in Israel, is accused of standing behind dozens of military operations against Israel since the beginning of the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising), which lasted from 1987 to 1993.

He has survived at least six Israeli assassination attempts, one of which is believed to have left him with serious injuries.

Last summer, Deif survived another Israeli assassination attempt during Israel’s 51-day military onslaught, which left at least 2,160 Gazans – mostly civilians – dead.

Deif’s wife and daughter, however, were killed during last summer’s attempt on his life by an Israeli strike on a residential unity in the Gaza Strip.

At least 73 Israelis – 68 soldiers and five civilians – were also killed during the offensive, which also saw 2,522 Israelis injured, including 740 military personnel.

The Israeli offensive against Gaza ended last August with a cease-fire signed in Cairo between Palestinian factions and the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

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