As violence rages on in the Israel-Hamas conflict, a mysterious figure has emerged as the mastermind behind the unprecedented Hamas attacks on Israel. Mohammed Deif, often likened to the “new Osama Bin Laden,” commands the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group responsible for the assaults.
Born as Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri in a Gaza refugee camp during the 1960s, Deif grew up in a Palestinian refugee family.
Multiple reports indicate that he pursued studies at Gaza’s Islamic University and later became an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas, founded in the late 1980s during the first Palestinian intifada, became his chosen path.
Deif is renowned for maintaining an elusive presence, often concealing himself in underground tunnels or changing safe houses nightly. His knack for evading capture has earned him the moniker “The Guest” as he moves from one refuge to another.
Role in Hamas
Deif’s entry into Hamas marked the onset of a violent chapter. He orchestrated numerous suicide bombings within Israel, deliberately targeting civilians, soldiers, and settlers. His actions were a response to what he perceived as the betrayal of Palestinian resistance through the Oslo Peace Accords. Deif’s expertise in bomb-making and military strategy became evident as he climbed the ranks within the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm.
Under his leadership, Hamas developed its rudimentary rocket technology, which they now possess in substantial quantities. In 2002, Deif assumed leadership of the al-Qassam Brigades after the assassination of its previous leader. During his tenure, the group intensified its attacks on Israel, targeting settlers, soldiers in the occupied territories, buses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and launching rocket barrages.
Surviving Assassination Attempts
Deif’s notoriety made him a prime target for Israeli intelligence agencies. Astonishingly, he survived multiple assassination attempts, though five of them resulted in the loss of both hands and legs, an eye, and the tragic deaths of his wife and two children. Despite these devastating injuries, he has become known as the “cat with nine lives.”
The New Osama Bin Laden
Deemed a terrorist by the United States, Deif’s leadership and strategic acumen have led to comparisons with Osama Bin Laden. Like Bin Laden, he possesses a flair for dramatics, as evident in the recent Hamas attacks on Israel. His ability to plan and execute large-scale operations, such as infiltrating over 1,000 Hamas militants into Israel, has solidified his reputation as a ruthless commander.
In the recent Hamas attack, Deif’s voice resurfaced as he called for the expulsion of occupiers and the demolition of walls, vowing to hold the enemy accountable. The attack resulted in the infiltration of hundreds of Hamas fighters into Israel, taking hostages and wreaking havoc. As the conflict persists, Mohammed Deif remains a shadowy yet central figure, steering the course of Hamas’s military strategy and shaping the trajectory of the Israel-Palestine conflict.