|Born||Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri
1965 (age 51–52)
Khan Younis, Egyptian controlled Gaza Strip
|Other names||Abu Khaled|
|Years active||2002 – present|
|Known for||Commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades|
|Allegiance||Palestinian Authority (Hamas)|
|Service/branch||Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades|
Mohammed Deif (Arabic: محمّد ضيف ; born 1965 in Khan Younis), born Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, 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. Last Israeli attempt to kill Deif was in an airstrike on 19 August 2014. Hamas denied that Deif was killed. Deif's wife, infant son, and daughter perished in the attack.
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.
Deif became the commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades after Israel killed Salah Shehade in July 2002. 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.
Targeted killing attempts against Deif
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. 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. After this event, Ahmed Jabari became the acting commander of the military wing of Hamas.
On 19 August 2014, the Israeli military conducted an airstrike on a house in the neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan in Gaza City that killed Deif's 27-year-old wife Widad, 7-month-old son Ali, 3-year-old daughter Sara, and three civilians. Hamas denied that Deif was killed.
In April 2015, Israel confirmed that Deif survived the assassination attempt.
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."
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