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Israel confirms Hamas’ Marwan Issa killed in airstrike earlier this month

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari confirmed that Hamas' No. 3 in Gaza, Marwan Issa, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on March 10.
A person sits on a donkey-drawn cart while watching from a far as people search the rubble of destroyed buildings in the Asra residential compound.

The spokesperson of the Israeli army, Daniel Hagari, confirmed Tuesday evening that Marwan Issa, the deputy head of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, was killed in an IDF airstrike in Gaza earlier this month on March 10.

Issa was third in Hamas’ hierarchy, after Hamas Gaza commander Yahya Sinwar and head of al-Qassam Brigades Mohammed Deif. According to the IDF, Issa was one of the main architects of the Oct. 7 Hamas assault. He was also one of the planners of the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. 

The IDF confirmed earlier this month that Issa was targeted in an airstrike in the city of Nuseirat in the center of the Gaza Strip, but it was unable to confirm that Issa was indeed killed. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said in mid-March that Hamas was trying to hide the fate of Issa.

On March 18, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed reports that Israel killed Issa, adding that “the rest of the top leaders are in hiding, likely deep in the Hamas tunnel network, and justice will come for them too. We are helping to ensure that.” Israeli security officials said at the time that Issa was apparently hit in the strike, but they could not 100% confirm that he was killed. 

Addressing journalists, Hagari revealed Tuesday that alongside Issa, the IDF also eliminated senior Hamas commander Ghazi Abu Tama’a in the March 10 strike in Nuseirat.

Hamas politburo member Azzat al-Risheq cast doubt on Issa’s death, saying the group has no “confidence” in Israel’s assertion.

“There is no confidence in the occupation’s story of the assassination of brother mujahid Marwan Issa, and the final say is the prerogative of al-Qassam leadership,” Risheq said in a statement to the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency.

Risheq added that the timing of the news of Issa’s death represents a “covering up of the crises facing Netanyahu and the failure of the occupation army to realize its goals.”

Update: March 26, 2024. This article was updated with comments made by Hamas following the Israeli confirmation of Issa's death.