Who Is Mohammad Deif? The One-Eyed Wheelchair-Bound Commander of Hamas Is Behind Recent Attacks On Israel

Also called 'The Guest', his orginal name is Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri

A message, delivered on Saturday, announced revenge by Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that has unleashed unprecedented damage on Israel. The Operation Al-Aqsa Flood launched rockets infiltrating parts of the country killing more than 700 Israelis.

It said, "In light of ongoing injustices against our people, the occupation's disregard for international laws, and Western support, we've chosen to end this situation. We want the enemy to understand that they can't act without consequences."

Mohammad Deif

These attacks prompted a strong response from Israel, resulting in nearly 1,600 casualties. The voice in the message was revealed to be Mohammed Deif, Hamas's military commander. But who is this mysterious figure, known as "The Guest," who has risen to the top ranks of Palestinian leadership?

Deif's Early Life:

Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, known as Mohammed Deif, was born in the 1960s in the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza, which was then under Egyptian control. His family may have been involved in armed actions in the 1950s on the same land where the recent infiltration occurred.

Little is known about Deif, with only one photograph of him available. However, early friends describe him as gentle and possessing a good sense of humor.

Deif's Role in Hamas:

In his twenties, Deif joined Hamas. In 1996, he was held responsible by Israelis for multiple suicide bombings, including one that claimed over 50 lives. These bombings were seen as a response to the Oslo Peace Accords, which Hamas believed resulted in territorial losses for Palestinians.

He is believed to have learned bomb-making skills from Yahya Ayyash, nicknamed "The Engineer," who was assassinated by Israel in 1996. Deif's expertise contributed to Hamas's development of rockets, leading to a substantial stockpile used against Israel.

An Israeli official has also noted that Deif targeted high-impact locations like settlements, soldiers, and buses, and oversaw rocket attacks. He opposed any cessation of hostilities.

In 2002, he assumed leadership of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, following the assassination of its previous leader, Salah Shehade, in an Israeli airstrike.

Elusive and Resilient:

Deif avoids public appearances and earned the nickname "The Guest" for frequently changing locations. Before the recent message, his last known communication was in May 2021, warning Israel of consequences for not meeting Hamas's demands regarding Jerusalem.

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Israel's intelligence and security agencies have placed him at the top of their "most wanted" list, with several assassination attempts against him. He survived multiple attacks, losing both his legs, one arm, one leg, and one eye. His family members are also assumed to be killed in these attacks. Some reports suggest he is wheelchair-bound.

He's considered a skilled commander and mastermind of Hamas's military strategy, drawing comparisons to Osama Bin Laden. His background in an acting troupe during his university years may explain his penchant for dramatic actions, like the recent attack involving the infiltration of 1,000 Hamas fighters into Israel.

Deif's statements also encourage Israeli Arabs to take up arms and call on Arabs near Israel's borders to join the attack, advocating for resistance against the occupiers.