Even as reports were emerging of Yahya Sinwar’s Feb. 13 election to replace Ismail Haniyeh as the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, other reports from Gaza are pointing to a significant decline in the health of Mohammed al-Deif, the commander of the movement’s military wing. Some Gaza sources even claim he is at death’s door.
Deif is considered a living legend for surviving all Israeli attempts on his life. The top of Israel’s most wanted list was injured in September 2002, during the second Palestinian intifada, when two missiles fired from an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) helicopter hit a car in which he was traveling on Salah al-Din Street in Gaza City. Deif was severely injured, sustaining head wounds and face burns, and lost his sight in one eye. He underwent complex treatments by doctors sent from Egypt to Gaza and survived.