Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas‘ military wing in Gaza and a presumed mastermind of the Oct 7 assault on Israel, was confirmed dead on Monday by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Issa, nicknamed “shadow man” for his ability to stay off the enemy’s radar, had risen to No. 3 within the group. With his death, Issa who had been among Israel’s most wanted men, became the senior-most Hamas leader to be killed in Gaza since the start of the war.
Daniel Hagari said on March 11 that Israeli military warplanes had targeted Issa and another senior Hamas official in an underground compound in central Gaza. Israeli officials have characterised the strike as a breakthrough.
Issa, who was 58 or 59 at the time of his death, had served since 2012 as a deputy to Mohammed Deif, the elusive leader of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. Issa assumed the role after the assassination of another top commander, Ahmed al-Jabari. Issa served both on Hamas’ military council and in its Gaza political office, overseen by Yehia Sinwar, the group’s highest-ranking official in the enclave.
Tamir Hayman, a former Israeli military intelligence chief, said Issa was simultaneously Hamas’ “defence minister”, its deputy military commander and its “strategic mind”. Michael Milshtein, an ex-Israeli military intelligence officer, said Issa’s death was a significant blow, although he conceded it wasn’t “the end of the world” for Hamas.

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