Yahya Sinwar made the threat in his first public statement since the terrorist attack, Israeli media network Arutz Sheva reported.
“The leaders of the occupation should know,” Sinwar said, referring to Israeli leaders.
The attack was the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Hamas murdered 1,200 people and took 240 as hostages, including children, women, and the elderly.
Sinwar’s threat came during a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas to allow for the release of dozens of women and children being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas in return for Palestinian criminals held in Israeli prisons.
Some of the Israeli hostages who were released said Sinwar went to see them when they were in captivity. He reportedly spoke fluent Hebrew with the hostages.
“Sinwar was with us three or four days after we arrived,” Yocheved Lifshitz, a former hostage, told the Davar news outlet. “I asked him how he was not ashamed to do such a thing to people who, for all these years, supported peace. He didn’t answer. He was silent.”
Sinwar’s threats track with top Hamas official Ghazi Hamad, who said in an interview last month on Lebanese news channel LBC TV, “We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again.”
Less than a year ago, Sinwar threatened Israel in front of cheering crowds in Gaza.
“We will come to you, God willing, in a roaring flood. We will come to you with endless rockets, we will come to you in a limitless flood of soldiers, we will come to you with millions of our people, like the repeating tide,” Sinwar said on Dec. 14 last year, according to Reuters.
Many of the Hamas leaders are hiding in different areas across the Middle East, including Qatar, Lebanon, and Turkey, according to media reports. However, Sinwar is reportedly in bunkers under Gaza, according to Reuters.
Sinwar was arrested in 1988 and spent 23 years in Israeli jails for attempted murder and sabotage.
“He’s 1,000% committed and 1,000% violent. A very, very hard man,” said a former Israeli interrogator who worked in the same jail where Sinwar was held.
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