An Israeli spy close to Hamas leaders suspected after October 7 planner may have been killed in Gaza, says report

  • Marwan Issa, a top Hamas official, is believed to have been targeted airstrike in Gaza.

  • The strike suggests Israel has a high-level informant within Hamas, a security analyst said.

  • Netanyahu called the potential death of Issa "a great achievement for Israel."

Marwan Issa, a top Hamas military official, is believed to have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza, reports say. An Intelligence expert said an informer within the militant group's high command could have tipped off the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The targeting of deputy head of Hamas' military wing "could have only been confirmed via a human asset," Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official and regional analyst, told the Guardian.

"Israel would have needed to know where and when Issa was hiding, that he would remain there with time for the cabinet to approve and to launch the operation, and would have needed to confirm that no Israeli captives were being held near him as human shields," said Melamed.

On Sunday, reports in the Israeli media said Kan News, a publicly owned news outlet, had learned Issa was dead, citing Palestinian sources.

Following the airstrike, which hit a tunnel complex under the Nuseirat refugee camp on October 10, Hamas communications between senior leaders ceased for more than 72 hours.

Hamas media blackouts have been routine following the deaths of senior leaders. The communications systems use encrypted apps and couriers, The Guardian reported.

On Saturday, a London-based, Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al–Awsat, said Issa "was injured, but his condition is currently unknown." They added that "the whole situation is complicated," per the Jewish News Agency (JNS).

The IDF aired footage of a strike on March 11, which could have targeted Issa. It was billed as "attacking an underground compound of senior Hamas officials in the center of the Gaza Strip."

On Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the potential death of Issa "a great achievement for Israel," and said the Hamas leaders "will all die, we will reach them all," reported the JNS.

Until his death, Issa, was the third-highest-ranking Hamas official in Gaza, nicknamed "Shadow Man" because he was rarely ever seen.

Israel's No. 1 target is the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, considered the mastermind of the October 7 attacks. Mohammed Deif, head of Hamas's military wing, is the second most wanted.

Melamed also told the Daily Express US the strike that potentially killed Issa suggested Israel had gained access to reliable on-the-ground informants to calibrate its attacks.

"The success of Israel's operation against Marwan Issa illustrates the level of human asset penetration that Israeli Intelligence has into Hamas's remaining forces in Gaza," he told the Express.

Over 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched a retaliatory military campaign on October 7.

Hamas militants had infiltrated Israeli communities on October 7, killing 1,143 people and taking 247 hostages.

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