Yahya Sinwar could’ve fled Gaza to Egypt report claims

Israeli officials have denied the claim made by Saudi news outlet Elaph


Footage of Yahya Sinwar in the tunnels under Khan Younis

Israeli security forces have denied claims that senior Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and his brother Mohammed have escaped to Egypt through tunnels from Rafah.

According to a report in Saudi online newspaper Elaph reported on Tuesday.

The same source reported that Israel has been monitoring a number of large tunnels between Gaza and Egypt that are spacious enough to accommodate cars and small trucks. The report also indicated that unnamed Israeli officials have expressed the belief that Hamas operatives use these tunnels to smuggle weapons and Iranian technologies as well as terrorists for training in Iran and Lebanon. However, unnamed IDF officials have dismissed the report made by Elaph that Sinwar has fled to Egypt.

The main source for Elaph’s report comes from the IDF’s 13 February post on X, in which they shared a video allegedly depicting Sinwar and his family escaping through a tunnel with the caption: “Spotted: Yahya Sinwar running away and hiding in his underground terrorist tunnel network as Gazan civilians suffer above ground under the rule of Hamas terrorism. There is no tunnel deep enough for him to hide in.” The video shows a figure who the IDF claim is Sinwar, seen from behind as he disappears into the darkness of a tunnel beneath the Gazan city of Khan Younis.

Former IDF senior intelligence officer Raphael Jerusalemy told i24 News on Tuesday that there is no indication of where Sinwar might be and, if the “rumour” that the Hamas leader fled to Egypt is true, then it is likely Sinwar took several Israeli hostages “as life insurance.”

But Esmat Mansour, Sinwar’s associate and former jail mate in Israeli prison, told Sky News last week that he is convinced Sinwar would not leave the Gaza Strip under “any situation”: “[Sinwar] believes that if he leaves Gaza his popularity and legitimacy as a leader will go.”

Mansour affirmed that Sinwar “was one of the main people behind” the Oct. 7 massacre but claimed that if Sinwar knew what the consequences of the assault would be, he "would never have planned an operation this way.”

According to Mansour, the cross-border attacks were intended to be "a strategic operation designed to remove the Israeli siege on the territory, release Sinwar's associates from prison, and turn him into the leader of the Palestinian people."

Mansour said Sinwar had “tried several times to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, to make a good relationship with Egypt, and he tried to provoke Israel to lift the siege on Gaza.”

“After all these efforts, he didn’t succeed. After that, he had to make a strategic change to [do] a huge operation like this.”

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