New intel said to disprove belief top Hamas commander Muhammad Deif is near-paralyzed

Videos found by IDF in Gaza reportedly show elusive terror chief walking with limp, using both hands, refuting longstanding assessment that he lost legs and hand in hit attempts

Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif. (courtesy)
Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif. (courtesy)

Elusive Hamas military wing leader Muhammed Deif is in a much better physical shape than previously thought, a report said Wednesday morning, citing new IDF intelligence findings that indicate that the prevalent belief that he is an amputee and nearly paralyzed is mistaken.

The report by the Maariv daily cited video evidence of Deif apparently found recently by troops in the Gaza Strip, showing the arch-terrorist walking, albeit with a slight limp. The report said Deif was walking on his own legs, implying that the terrorist was not using prosthetics. He was said to be seen sitting up in another clip.

Little is known of Deif, but oft-repeated reports in Israel for over a decade have described him as missing both his legs and an arm, the result of an Israeli airstrike, one of some seven failed Israeli attempts on his life.

The reportedly uncovered new footage also apparently showed Deif with two functioning arms. The report did not say whether reports of him losing an eye in one of the assassination attempts were also exaggerated.

However, the Ynet news site said that according to evidence found by IDF troops in Gaza in recent weeks, Deif does still sometimes use a wheelchair.

The report said that Deif was playing an active role in commanding the fighting in Gaza.

Unlike many others in the Palestinian terror group, Deif has lived his life in the shadows, and pictures or videos of him are extremely rare.

The Shin Bet security service “wouldn’t recognize him if they passed him on the street,” investigative journalist Shlomi Eldar told The Economist recently.

There was no official confirmation of the Maariv report, which was quickly picked up by major Hebrew media outlets.

Army Radio reported that the army was not surprised by the discovery. Citing two unnamed Israeli sources, it said the Israel Defense Forces has known about Deif’s condition for several years.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Avi Dichter, seen during a committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on July 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to Army Radio, Minister Avi Dichter reported nearly 20 years ago that Deif was partially paralyzed. Dichter made the comment upon departing the Shin Bet, which he led until 2005. The strike reported to have taken Deif’s legs occurred a year later, but Dichter’s statement was the last official Israeli comment on his condition.

Over the years, reports have said a total of seven Israeli assassination attempts have failed to take out Deif, though some of them seriously injured him. The last two known attempts, according to the military, occurred in May 2021 when Israel and Gazan terror groups fought in an 11-day flareup known as Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The military has been put on the defensive regarding its knowledge of what is happening inside Gaza after major intelligence failures were exposed by Hamas’s shock October 7 assault on southern Israel, in which some 3,000 terrorists broke through the fortified border, murdered some 1,200 people and took over 240 hostages, mostly civilians, in the worst single attack since the state’s establishment.

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