Marwan Issa, the “shadow man” who was almost killed by cancer before Israel

The Israeli army and Hamas are trying to determine whether Marwan Issa, deputy head of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the movement’s military wing, was actually killed in an air strike that targeted him in the central Gaza Strip, last Saturday-Sunday night.

Intelligence officials in the Israeli army and the Shin Bet are using special procedures to verify once and for all whether the “file” of the second man in Al-Qassam, whom Israel used combined weapons, “heavy and fortification-piercing,” to assassinate him, has been “closed” in order to verify that he did not emerge alive from the underground complex. Which was in it.

Israeli Channel 12 said: “Three days after the unusually strong attack in the Nuseirat refugee camp, in the middle of the Gaza Strip, Israel still does not know for sure whether Issa was killed, taking into account that the confirmation of the liquidation of a senior Hamas member… “It may come specifically from the Palestinians, and from Hamas itself.”

As for Hamas, which has not yet commented on the preparation of this report, it finds it difficult to communicate, communicate and verify any information, and accessing and verifying the bodies in light of the major collapse caused by the Israeli strike is extremely complicated.

Destruction as a result of Israeli raids on the Nuseirat camp in the Gaza Strip last February (EPA)

The Israeli army had used bunker-buster bombs, in addition to very heavy bombs, to target Issa.

In the documents published by the Israeli army spokesman, a large explosion was seen with smaller explosions, in order to ensure that whoever was not killed by the explosion itself or the collapse of the tunnel would die of suffocation or inhalation of dangerous materials.

Israel does not want to officially announce the killing of Issa unless it is definitively confirmed, after it made a mistake at the beginning of the war by announcing the assassination of the Hamas political official, Rawhi Mushtaha, who was found to have been injured, survived, and returned to work.

Members of the Civil Defense in the street next to the building that was hit by an Israeli raid that targeted the deputy leader of Hamas, Saleh Al-Arouri, in the southern suburb of Beirut, January 3, 2024 (AFP)

Issa is the most important target to be targeted since the beginning of the war, and he is considered the No. 3 man on the Israeli Hamas wanted list, after Muhammad al-Deif, the commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, and Yahya al-Sanwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza. As for No. 4, he was Saleh Al-Arouri, and Israel actually assassinated him in Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to assassinate No. 3, 2 and 1 in Hamas after they assassinated No. 4.

Who is Marwan Issa, nicknamed the Shadow Man?

Marwan Abdel Karim Issa was born in 1965, in the Bureij refugee camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip. He grew up in the camp and received his education in UNRWA schools, before receiving his university education at the Islamic University. He was a distinguished athlete and excelled in playing basketball in the camp services club.

Issa belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood in his early youth, shortly before the announcement of the founding of the Hamas movement, which he later joined.

Ahmed Al-Jaabari, commander of the “Al-Qassam Brigades” (Palestinian media)

He was arrested once by the occupation forces in 1987, and was released in 1993. He continued to suffer from Israeli persecution, then he was arrested in 1997 by the Palestinian security services, and he was released from their prisons with the outbreak of the second Al-Aqsa Intifada at the end of 2000.

He participated in the beginnings of the work of the “Al-Qassam Brigades” during the years of the Intifada, and was involved in operations to confront Israeli incursions, and participated in carrying out shooting operations, mortar shells, and rockets towards the settlements that were located inside the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian child throws stones at an Israeli troop carrier in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem on July 5, 2002 (Archive – Reuters)

He progressed through advocacy and military work within the Hamas movement and the Al-Qassam Brigades, until he became a prominent military figure. Then he was appointed commander of the Central Region Brigade before becoming a member of the Military Council and then secretary of the council, until he reached his current position, deputy commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades. » After the assassination of the second man in the Phalange, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, in 2012.

Benjamin Netanyahu receives Gilad Shalit in 2016 in southern Israel (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat sources said that Issa played an important role in changing the composition of the political office of the Hamas movement after the 2012 elections, when he demanded the necessity of having a representative of the Phalange in the office, and he was nominated and became a candidate for this position to be a link between the political and military levels. He continued to do so until the last elections that took place in 2021, when he appeared for the first time publicly in a photo that brought together members of the current political bureau, whose term extends until 2025. He placed a “mask” on his face in that photo that became his most recent appearance.

But what many do not know is that Issa, who was subjected to many assassination attempts and survived them, has been fighting death for many years due to cancer.

The sources revealed that Issa had been suffering from cancer for about 8 years, and his health had deteriorated several times in the past period before the war. He was receiving treatment in a private place, and there were persistent attempts to take him out of the Gaza Strip in order to receive treatment before this war.

Issa was not the first to be targeted in this war. According to sources, he was subjected to an assassination attempt when a multi-storey building in the Yarmouk neighborhood in Gaza City was targeted by bombardment with several missiles amid a violent belt of fire. It later became clear that he had left the building and the entire area hours before the Israeli attack.

Before that, Israel tried to kill Issa in the Battle of “Saif al-Quds” in 2021, after targeting a residential apartment in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood where Issa was supposed to arrive, but he was delayed by a few minutes, which allowed him to escape with his life, and his brother Wael, who was a commander in the intelligence service, was killed in the attack. “Al-Qassam.”

Israel also tried to assassinate him at the moment when Ahmed Al-Jaabari was subjected to an assassination attempt in 2012 in the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, after bombing a house in which he was present.

The operation that was closest to success was days after the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, when he suffered moderate injuries from which he later recovered.

Prisoner exchange deals

Issa, who does not like the spotlight, was very active in any talks related to prisoner exchange deals.

The Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that Issa played an important role in planning the kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit, coordinating his disappearance and then negotiating over him.

Israeli intelligence attributes to Issa more than 50 percent of responsibility for the October 7 attack and its planning.

Sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Issa was fully aware of the plan, and was present at the last meeting that determined the zero point, and in direct contact with the leaders of the elite units who carried out the first attack that day, and directly supervised the process of storming Kibbutz “Be’eri.” » Located east of the central region of the Gaza Strip, which served as an important theater for the “Qassam” attack.

Recent Israeli intelligence estimates indicate that the attack against Issa was successful, and that Hamas faces difficulties in knowing the results of the operation, just like Israel.

Sources in the Hamas movement told Asharq Al-Awsat that they followed the Israeli reports about the attack, and there is no confirmed information yet about the truth of what happened, and it cannot be confirmed that Issa was present at the scene.

ظهرت في الأصل على

Leave a Comment