Deep underground, Mohammed Deif shapes Hamas war with Israel

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Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli assassination attempts may have left him badly hurt and driven him deep underground, but Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of Hamas’ armed wing in the Gaza Strip, has emerged as a mastermind of the war with Israel. As chief strategist behind a network of tunnels under Israel’s border, Deif caught his powerful enemy off guard with surprise attacks that caused heavy casualties. Despite punishing Israeli strikes in the month-old conflict, Hamas kept up its rocket fire, even against business capital Tel Aviv. Deif’s command position also gives him a voice among the Islamist movement’s leaders in steering it toward war or truce – a five-day ceasefire went into effect on Thursday.


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