Israeli Troops Advance on Rafah, Hamas Leadership Allegedly “On the Run”

The Israeli Defense Minister alleged that Sinwar had no contact with his fighters and has been evading capture by moving from one hideout to another, with Israeli forces in close pursuit.

In a significant development in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has asserted that the leadership of Hamas, including its top official in Gaza, is “on the run” as Israeli troops advance further south in the Palestinian enclave. The military operation in the southern city of Khan Younis, according to Gallant, is poised to achieve its objectives as forces move towards Rafah, identified as Hamas’ last remaining stronghold.

Gallant, speaking in a televised briefing, stated that Israeli forces operate on the ground in most of the Gaza Strip and claimed that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, considered a key figure in the group, is now a “fugitive terrorist.” Sinwar has been accused by Israel of masterminding the October 7 attack, making him a primary target in the ongoing military campaign.

The Israeli Defense Minister alleged that Sinwar had no contact with his fighters and has been evading capture by moving from one hideout to another, with Israeli forces in close pursuit.

In a further claim, Gallant stated that Israeli forces have successfully neutralized a significant number of Hamas fighters, with approximately half either killed or seriously wounded.

Hamas, however, refuted these claims through its spokesperson, Husam Badran, based in Qatar. Badran denied Gallant’s assertions, describing them as an attempt to boost Israeli morale. According to a statement from Badran published by the Hamas media outlet Al Aqsa, Hamas fighters continue to operate in all areas of Gaza, challenging the narrative presented by the Israeli Defense Minister.

As conflicting reports emerge, the situation on the ground remains tense, with the fate of key Hamas leaders and the overall trajectory of the conflict hanging in the balance. The international community closely watches these developments, emphasizing the need for a diplomatic resolution to alleviate the humanitarian crisis and bring about a lasting peace in the region.