White House Confirms Death in Gaza of Hamas No. 3 Marwan Issa

A photo of Hamas commander Marwan Issa taken in 2011. The other two men in the picture, Saleh al-Arouri, left, and Ahmed Jabari, have also been assassinated, Jabari in 2012 and al-Arouri in January 2024. (Screenshot/Twitter via JTA.org)

Ben Sales

Israel has killed Hamas’ third-in-command in the Gaza Strip, the United States confirmed on Monday.

The killing earlier this month of Marwan Issa, alleged to be a mastermind of Hamas’ Oct. 7 invasion of Israel, is a significant achievement for Israel in its war on the terror group in Gaza, which is approaching the six-month mark. Issa served under Hamas militant leader Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar, the terror group’s chief in Gaza.

Israeli officials had said for more than a week that they were working to confirm that Issa had been killed when it targeted an underground facility in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Now, the confirmation of his death by Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, comes as Israel is making the case that it must invade the city of Rafah in southern Gaza to complete its defeat of Hamas. President Joe Biden has urged Israel not to invade until it has a plan to evacuate the more than 1 million civilians who have taken refuge in the city.

Israeli officials vowed to hunt down Hamas’ leaders following the Oct. 7 attack, which killed some 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostage. However, some proposals for a temporary ceasefire and hostage release have included a provision that Hamas’ leadership in the enclave be allowed to exit. The political leadership of Hamas is based in Qatar.

Israel has pledged to defeat Hamas and free the hostages but has come under increasing pressure from the international community, including its allies, due to the war’s rising death toll. More than 31,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there. Israel, which has lost some 250 soldiers in the invasion, says more than a third of the fatalities in Gaza are Hamas fighters. Issa’s son, Muhammad Issa, was killed in late December.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here