Mohammed Deif

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Mohammed Deif
Born Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri
1965 (age 51–52)
Khan Younis, Egyptian controlled Gaza Strip
Residence Gaza, Palestine
Nationality Palestinian
Other names Abu Khaled
Years active 2002 – present
Known for Commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Spouse(s) Widad (2007-2014[1])
Military career
Allegiance  Palestinian Authority (Hamas)
Service/branch Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
Rank Chief Commander

Mohammed Deif (Arabic: محمّد ضيف ‎‎; born 1965 in Khan Younis), born Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri,[2] serves as the chief commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the organization Hamas. He has been Israel’s 'most wanted’ man for the last 20 years for his involvement in multiple kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, sending suicide terrorists and planting bombs on buses.[3] Last Israeli attempt to kill Deif was in an airstrike on 19 August 2014.[4] Hamas denied that Deif was killed. Deif's wife, infant son, and daughter perished in the attack.[5][6]

The United States Department of State added Deif to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 8 September 2015.[7][8]

Hamas career[edit]

Deif learned how to assemble improvised explosive devices from Yahya Ayyash.[9] After the assassination of Ayyash, he began to assume his role in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.[9]

In 1994, Deif was involved in the kidnappings and murders of Israeli soldiers Shahar Simani, Aryeh Frankenthal and Nachshon Wachsman. He was behind bus bombings in Jerusalem and Ashkelon, attacks that killed about 50 Israelis. Five suicide terrorists he sent into Israel in March 2000 were killed by Yamam. After his release from PA prison in April 2001, he was involved in a 'wave of bombing attacks' that lasted several months.[3]

Deif became the commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades after Israel killed Salah Shehade in July 2002.[10] Israel suspects him of being a bombmaker, and holds him personally responsible for the murder of dozens of civilians in numerous suicide bombings since 1996, among them the Jaffa Road bus bombings in Jerusalem. He is considered to be the designer of the Qassam rocket, together with Nidal Fat'hi Rabah Farahat and Adnan al-Ghoul. He was in Palestinian custody from May 2000 to April 2001. Deif was the person considered at the top of Israel's most wanted list for several years.

In February 2006, some Israeli media argued that Deif would join Al Qaeda cells being established in the Gaza Strip since he did not support the approach of Hamas. However, this claim was denied by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.[9]

Targeted killing attempts against Deif[edit]

He has survived five Israeli strikes, which caused him serious handicaps. Despite initial reports of his death in an Israeli air strike on 27 September 2002, an Israeli official confirmed that he survived the attack.[11] His senior assistant, Adnan al-Ghoul, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on 21 October 2004.

In the early morning hours of 12 July 2006, Israeli aircraft blasted a house in which high-level Hamas leaders were meeting. Deif survived the blast, but severely injured his spine.[12] After this event, Ahmed Jabari became the acting commander of the military wing of Hamas.[13]

On 19 August 2014, the Israeli military conducted an airstrike on a house in the neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in Gaza City[14] that killed Deif's 27-year-old wife Widad, 7-month-old son Ali, 3-year-old daughter Sara, and three civilians.[15][16][17] Hamas denied that Deif was killed.[2][18][19]

In April 2015, Israel confirmed that Deif survived the assassination attempt.[20]


In December 2010, the Hamas movement marked the 23rd anniversary of its establishment with an official booklet entitled The Path of Glory (Darb al-ezza), which includes statements by Hamas military leaders alongside statistical data on military actions carried out against Israel.

Mohammed Deif wrote: "The al-Qassam Brigades ... are better prepared to continue on our exclusive path to which there is no alternative, and that is the path of jihad and the fight against the enemies of the Muslim nation and mankind.... We say to our enemies: you are going on the path to extinction (zawal), and Palestine will remain ours including Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Al-Aqsa (mosque), its towns and villages from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the (Jordan) River, from its North to its South. You have no right to even an inch of it."[21]


  1. ^ "Thousands mourn slain wife, baby of Hamas commander". GMA News Online. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Hamas Confirms: Mohammed Deif is Still Alive". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Who is Mohammed Deif?". Haaretz. August 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hamas' military chief believed to have been killed in airstrike, sources say". Fox News. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Gaza: Hamas claims its military commander Mohammed Deif is alive". First Post. 20 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Body of Deif's daughter, 3, pulled from Gaza rubble". The Daily Star Newspaper - Lebanon. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  7. ^ "US Blacklists 4 Hamas, Hezbollah Operatives". NYTimes. September 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Terrorist Designations of Yahya Sinwar, Rawhi Mushtaha, and Muhammed Deif". United States Department of State. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c "Mohammad Deif – Head of the Armed Wing". IDF. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Asser, Martin (26 September 2002). "Profile: Hamas commander Mohammed Deif". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Official: Hamas target survives Israeli attack". CNN. 27 September 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Israel's Most Wanted Man Seriously Injured In Bombing". WLTX. Gaza City. AP. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Chabin, Michele (14 November 2012). "Israelis brace for attacks after Hamas leader killed". USA Today. Jerusalem. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Israeli airstrikes target Hamas military chief in Gaza: report". Xinhua. 20 August 2014. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Hamas vows revenge for Deif's family". ynet. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  17. ^ "Hamas Terror Chief's Daughter Killed in Strike Too - Middle East - News - Arutz Sheva". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Gaza killing resumes with peace talks in tatters". CBS News. 20 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "UPDATE 4-Gaza war rages on, Hamas says Israel tried to kill its military chief". Reuters. 20 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Hamas military commander Deif said to be alive in Gaza Strip". The Jerusalem Post - Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (3 January 2011). "Talking to Hamas? – Increasing Expressions of Genocidal Intent by Hamas Leaders Against the Jews". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 18 November 2012.