Details Emerge on Israel’s Hunt for Hamas Terror Mastermind Mohammed Deif, After Two More Failed Assassination Attempts
For decades, Israel has been on the hunt for Hamas’ terror mastermind Mohammed Deif, the head of the terrorist group’s military wing. Despite numerous attempts on his life — including two in recent days, during the ongoing Operation Guardian of the Walls — he remains alive, and continues his terror activities.
Israel’s N12 news reported Wednesday that, according to sources in the army and security establishment, it was Deif himself, in his role as commander of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who began the latest round of fighting, by ordering rockets to be fired on Jerusalem on May 10. And despite Israel’s efforts, Deif has managed to escape assassination twice.
Since the fighting started, Deif has gone underground, remained in hiding, and is constantly on the move, never sleeping in the same place twice.
He does so by commandeering civilian houses and maintaining a network of collaborators who facilitate and help conceal his movements. Nonetheless, said N12, in at least one of the latest attempts, Deif managed to only narrowly escape.
Avi Dichter, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, detailed the long history of Israel’s attempts to execute Deif to the Israeli outlet, saying, “There were two major misses in the attempt to catch Mohammed Deif.”
The first, Dichter said, took place in January 1996, on the same day as a notorious Hamas terrorist known as “The Engineer” was executed.
“Deif was in our sights,” he explained, “but at the last moment, the political echelon didn’t authorize hitting him. The time was three years after the Oslo Accords, two years after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there was hope for peace — in retrospect, we’re talking about a terrible mistake. There’s no doubt we could have hit him.”
“The second attempt was when I was head of the Shin Bet,” Dichter continued. “The entire Hamas leadership gathered in a building — in a way that never occurred before or after. … There was a decision to hit the building with a one-ton bomb, and all the top leaders were at the meeting.”
“At the last minute,” he explained, “the IDF got cold feet because of the fear of harming innocents. In the end, we hit just one floor of the structure — they weren’t there at all. We haven’t been able to catch Mohammed Deif since then.”
Dichter said that the main problem with these failed attempts is not the “frustration” involved, but that the targets continue to “create terror and murder Israelis.”
“All of the ‘greatness and heroism’ of Mohammed Deif is (based) on the murder of innocents — whether by means of suicide terrorists or launching rockets,” he said.
However, Dichter said, Israel remains on the trail of Hamas’ leaders, saying, “I wouldn’t recommend any insurance company take the chance of insuring this gang.”