IDF reveals new undated photo of shadowy Hamas commander Mohammed Deif

Military spokesman says image is among 70 million digital files recovered by the army in Gaza; military wing chief can be seen holding wad of US dollars

An undated photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on January 6, 2024, shows Muhammed Deif (R), the commander of the Hamas terror group's military wing. (Israel Defense Forces)
An undated photo released by the Israel Defense Forces on January 6, 2024, shows Muhammed Deif (R), the commander of the Hamas terror group's military wing. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday revealed a photo it said it discovered recently in Gaza of the shadowy commander of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Deif.

At a press conference on Saturday evening, IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari revealed the photo for the first time, saying that it was found among some 70 million digital files recovered by the IDF in Gaza.

The image was revealed a little over a week after a different photo of the arch-terrorist who has not been seen in public for years — seemingly from the same time as the new photo — began circulating in Israeli media.

Hagari said that the data recovered also includes “information about Hamas officials who are located outside Gaza,” all of which “provide us with important intelligence for the ongoing war.”

In the undated photo, Deif appears to be relaxing outdoors alongside an unidentified man while holding a plastic cup filled with a dark liquid in one hand and a wad of US dollar bills in the other, looking at his watch. The man next to him also appears to be counting dollars.

Unverified reports have claimed in the past that Deif had lost an arm and one or both of his legs in Israeli assassination attempts. In the new photo, both his arms are visible, though he does appear to be missing an eye. Two pairs of shoes are seen behind the two men.

The previous photo was first published by Channel 12 news on December 27, and was said to be newer than any other known photos of Deif at the time. The TV channel claimed then that the image was obtained by Israeli forces fighting in Gaza.

A photo, reportedly from 2018, purporting to show Muhammad Deif, the commander of the Hamas terror group’s military wing, which was published by Hebrew media outlets on December 27, 2023. (Screen capture; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Ynet news site reported that the photo was from 2018 and was likely taken during a social event.

A report in the Maariv daily on December 20 claimed that video evidence uncovered by IDF troops in Gaza depicted Deif walking without assistance, albeit with a slight limp. According to Ynet, Israeli officials think Deif sometimes still uses a wheelchair as a result of injuries sustained in attempts on his life, and is playing an active role in commanding the fighting in Gaza.

IDF troops found wheelchairs they believe were used by Deif in a tunnel network uncovered in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood that was thought to have served as a command post for top Hamas brass.

A wheelchair found near the entrance to a tunnel believed to have been used by Muhammad Deif, near Palestine Square in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, December 19, 2023. (Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel)

Deif has been on Israel’s most-wanted list since 1995 for his involvement in the planning and execution of a large number of terror attacks, including many bus bombings in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The al-Qassam Brigades commander is believed to have played a central role in the shock October 7 assault on Israel, in which some 1,200 people were slaughtered and around 240 others dragged to Gaza as hostages when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst into Israel and launched the deadliest attack in the country’s history.

Deif has survived at least seven assassination attempts over the years, some of them injuring him to various degrees or killing his family members. The last two known attempts, according to the military, occurred in May 2021 when Israel and Gazan terror groups fought in an 11-day flare-up known as Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Prior to 2021, Israel had tried to kill Deif during the 2014 war in Gaza but narrowly missed, killing instead his wife, infant son and 3-year-old daughter.

The other assassination attempts took place in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006, the last of which was previously believed to have resulted in the loss of his legs.

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