Yahya Sinwar: Hamas leader in Gaza didn’t expect consequences of 7 October attack to be ‘this dangerous’, says friend | World News

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The top Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, was one of the main planners of the 7 October attack on Israel but did not expect the consequences to become “this dangerous”, a friend has told Sky News.

Esmat Mansour said last year’s cross-border raid was supposed to be a strategic operation designed to lift the Israeli siege on the territory, release Sinwar’s friends from prison, and make him a “leader of the Palestinian people”.

But the calculations “didn’t go as planned”, the reaction of the Israelis was “uncontrolled, without any justification”, and “now we have this result”, he explained.

“He [Sinwar] didn’t expect the operation to make things this complicated and to go as far as it did and become this dangerous. And [it] gave Israel all the reasons and excuses to break all the rules.”

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Speaking from Ramallah in the West Bank, Mansour said: “I think he was one of the main people behind this operation.”

He claimed that if Sinwar knew what the consequences of the assault would be, he “would never have planned an operation this way”.

Mansour, who has been in prison with Sinwar, said the Hamas leader had “wanted to make a change”.

Esmat Mansour
Image:
Esmat Mansour has spoken to Sky News from Ramallah

According to his ex-fellow inmate, Sinwar “tried several times to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, to make a good relationship with Egypt, and he tried to provoke Israel to lift the siege on Gaza“.

“After all these efforts, he didn’t succeed. After that, he had to make a strategic change to [do] a huge operation like this. A big part of it was thought up by Sinwar.”

Hamas killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in its raid on Israel last October and took around 250 others hostage.

The attack led to retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza that have killed at least 28,576 Palestinians, including mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The Israeli military claims it has killed or captured 8,000-9,000 Hamas fighters since 7 October.

Amid the airstrikes and a ground assault, about 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes.

Large areas in northern Gaza have been completely destroyed, the majority of people have moved further south, and a humanitarian crisis has left a quarter of the population starving.

Read more:
Who is Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar?
‘Gaza is worst humanitarian crisis I have seen in 50 years’ – top UN official
Does Netanyahu have the nerve for a military operation in Rafah or is it a ruse?

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IDF releases CCTV of Hamas leader in tunnel

It comes as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) released a video of what it claimed was Sinwar and his family walking through tunnels under the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, just days after the 7 October attack.

The face of the man Israel says is Sinwar is not visible.

But Mansour, who is now an analyst, said the footage was a propaganda video by the Israeli military aimed at a domestic audience and also for Palestinian consumption.

“They [the Israelis] want to say that they are following him and trying to get him,” he said.

But he stated it was also a message for the people of Gaza that “he’s running away and living safely with his family while they are suffering”.

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Hamas leader tunnel video explained

Mansour believes his friend is still in the Gaza Strip and “will not leave” the territory under “any situation”.

“He believes that if he leaves Gaza, his popularity and his legitimacy as leader will go,” he said.

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Sinwar spent more than 20 years in prison for killing both Israelis and fellow Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the other side.

He was released in 2011 as part of a swap of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for just one hostage Israeli soldier – Gilad Shalit.

Read original article here.

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