War in Gaza "It is an unprecedented fierce battle," says Hamas leader in his first message since the start of the war

The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and true shadow power of the Islamist group, Yahya Sinwar, stated today in his first public message since the war began that this is a "ferocious, violent and unprecedented battle" against Israel

War in Gaza "It is an unprecedented fierce battle," says Hamas leader in his first message since the start of the war

The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and true shadow power of the Islamist group, Yahya Sinwar, stated today in his first public message since the war began that this is a "ferocious, violent and unprecedented battle" against Israel.

"The Al Qasam Brigades will destroy the occupation army, they are on the way to crushing it and will not submit to the conditions of the occupation," Sinwar said in a message broadcast on Hamas channels.

Sinwar, who Israel assumes is hiding in the enclave's network of underground tunnels, said Israeli troops "are suffering heavy losses in lives and equipment."

According to him, the Al Qasam Brigades attacked some 5,000 Israeli soldiers, "a third of them killed, another third seriously injured and the last third permanently incapacitated", in addition to destroying 750 military vehicles.

The figures offered by Sinwar are far from the official casualty count of the Israeli Army, which has confirmed 156 dead soldiers since the ground offensive in the Strip began on October 27; in addition to another 333 during the brutal attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7 and in the fighting of the following days.

Sinwar's message is the first from the Islamist leader since the war began after the October 7 attack, of which he is considered the main mastermind and planner, and which left more than 1,200 dead and 240 kidnapped.

The Israeli military offensive is now focused on Khan Yunis, a Hamas military stronghold in the south of the Strip and the city where Sinwar was born, whose capture is one of the priorities of Israeli troops.

According to intelligence leaked to the Hebrew media last week, the Army has believed it was on the verge of hunting him down in the tunnels of the Khan Yunis area twice in recent weeks, but Sinwar, who is supposed to be constantly on the move, managed escape.

"It is only a matter of time before we find him," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on December 6, when Israeli troops surrounded Sinwar's residence in Khan Younis, although they found no trace of him.

Sinwar is technically the "number two" of the group, behind the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, who has been living in self-exile in Qatar for more than a decade, but he is considered the person who really controls the group's important decisions. , being the one who governs within the Strip, both the political and the military arm.

In fact, according to several sources close to the negotiations, it is Sinwar who has the last word in the talks to reach a truce agreement or exchange of hostages for prisoners, which failed in Cairo last week.

Haniyeh returned to Doha from Cairo after new negotiations broke down last week over Hamas, which is demanding a permanent ceasefire to return its more than 120 remaining hostages inside the enclave.

The sides are now studying a new Egyptian proposal for a two-week truce, which could become a permanent ceasefire if Hamas agrees to let a technocratic Palestinian government take control of Gaza and free all Israeli hostages in exchange for release of some Palestinian prisoners.

Intense Israeli bombing in two and a half months of offensive has claimed the lives of at least 20,400 Gazans - seventy percent civilians, including more than 8,000 children - and injured more than 54,000; in addition to 7,500 bodies that are estimated to be trapped under the rubble, according to the latest count from the Ministry of Health.