Hamas said on Wednesday its military commander Muhammad Deif was alive and still calling the shots in the ongoing war with Israel in and around Gaza. “The head of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades Abu Khaled is still alive and leading the military operation,” a source close to the Islamist movement told AFP, using Deif’s nom-de-guerre.
His remarks were made after an Israeli air strike leveled a six-story house in Gaza City, killing Deif’s wife and infant son.
A “death certificate” said to be that of Hamas’s military leader Mohammed Deif and currently circulating online has been dismissed as a forgery by the terrorist group. The “death certificate” shows the names of three people supposedly killed in the attack. The first name listed is “Mohammed Deif”, whose date of birth is given as August 1965. The date and time of his death are given as yesterday (August 20), at 6:30 a.m.
A spokesperson for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, countered that Deif is alive and well, saying Israel “was unable to get to our commander, Mohammed Deif,” and declaring that Deif would “lead the army that will enter to liberate the holy al-Aqsa mosque”.
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri went further in an interview with Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV, saying Deif wasn’t even in the building when the IDF bombed it.
Muhammad Deif has been an active leader in Hamas’ military wing for decades, and has long been an extremely mysterious figure in the Palestinian resistance movement.
He is said to live completely underground from where he directs Hamas military actions, and a photograph has not been taken of him in decades.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also issued a statement, saying Israelis would not be safe until Deif decided so.
“The occupation will pay for its crimes against Palestinian civilians and those living around the Gaza border will not return home until Muhammad Deif decides so,” he said.