Hamas’ military wing said Sunday that the commander of its northern brigade, Ahmed Al-Ghandour, and three other senior leaders had been killed during Israel’s offensive against the Islamist movement.
In a statement, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said Ghandour was a member of its military council and named three other leaders who had died, including Ayman Siyyam, who Israeli media reports said was head of the Brigades’ rocket-firing units.
“We pledge to Allah we will continue their path and that their blood will be a light for the mujahedeen and a fire for the occupiers,” the statement said, without saying when they were killed.
Ghandour — whose nom de guerre was Abu Anas — was listed by the US in 2017 as a “specially designated global terrorist”, putting him on an economic sanctions blacklist.
The State Department described him as a former member of Hamas’ Shura council and a member of its political bureau.
Ghandour “has been involved in many terrorist operations,” it said, including a 2006 attack on an Israeli military outpost at the Kerem Shalom border crossing which left two Israeli soldiers dead and four wounded.
That attack resulted in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held by Hamas for five years before he was freed in 2011 in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
The announcement came on the third day of a four-day pause in fighting in Gaza which began on October 7 when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and snatching around 240 others, according to Israeli authorities.
Israel responded with a bombing and land campaign against Hamas that has killed nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians, according to Gaza’s Hamas-led government.
So far under the pause deal, Hamas has returned 26 Israeli hostages in two batches, with 78 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli detention in exchange.