Gaza Hamas leader Sinwar downplays Israeli threats

The leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar told the press on Saturday that he did not “take recent Israeli assassination threats into account.”

While offering condolences for Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday, Sinwar called on the international community “to hold Israel accountable for its crimes” and said he was ready to show up directly on television.

It was the first appearance of Sinwar, 59, after Israel threatened to assassinate him following an attack carried out in Elad, east of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, which killed three Israelis and wounded four others on May 5.

Israeli media quoted Israeli political and security sources as saying that Israel considers Sinwar “a mastermind of terrorist acts, and considers itself free to work in the Gaza Strip to curb terrorism,” but the army opposed the decision to assassinate Sinwar as Israeli army leaders believed the time was not ripe to implement such a decision.

Sinwar, a former detainee who spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons and was released under a prisoner exchange deal in 2011, has been the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2017. ■