Where is Yahya Sinwar?

Senior members of the terror group say they are in contact with the Hamas leader while Israel denies reports that he has left Gaza and is in Egypt; as mystery around his whereabouts grows IDF forces continue to hunt Sinwar down in underground tunnels
Hamas leaders abroad said on Tuesday that they were once again in direct contact with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar after earlier reports that he had cut off communications while speculations spread that he may have already left Gaza for Egypt.
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Speaking to the Saudi Al Arabiya channel, Hussam Badran, a member of the political bureau of the terror group said the leadership is in full coordination with Sinwar. "Everything the Hamas leaders abroad say is done in coordination with Sinwar," he said.
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 Yahya Sinwar, IDF footage of Hamas leader in a tunnel
 Yahya Sinwar, IDF footage of Hamas leader in a tunnel
Yahya Sinwar, IDF footage of Hamas leader in a tunnel
(Photo: AP, IDF)
The Saudi press claims that the mastermind of the October 7 massacre along with his brother, escaped the Strip to Egypt. Israeli security officials denied the report but the mystery surrounding Sinwar's whereabouts is only growing.
Israel had claimed that at least 8 – and by some reports 12 tunnels leading from Gaza to the Sinai Desert in Egypt were still operational and had warned that they could be used by Hamas leaders to escape or to transfer Israeli hostages to locations around the world.
But they insist there is no intelligence indicating Sinwar escaped. Israeli officials were trying to decipher whether he would ever accept an offer to save his life by going into exile, despite what is seen as his extreme religious beliefs that would prompt him to welcome a martyr's death.
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חישוף הפירים ותוואי המנהרה
חישוף הפירים ותוואי המנהרה
IDF forces inside a Hamas tunnel under Khan Younis
(Photo: IDF)
The officials say Sinwar is on the run and is moving between tunnels to avoid capture by IDF forces. The hunt by the military is mostly conducted underground and according to the IDF, the pressure on him may bring about an agreement for a pause in the fighting and the release of hostages, even if not all of them.
Other officials said that Sinwar sees great importance, more than his survival, in the release from Israeli prisons, of convicted terrorists as well as in events at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Israel is bracing for possible violence there during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan beginning next month.
The belief among security officials is that he had prepared for a months-long battle and had many underground locations identified in advance, including in Rafah where he may have escaped Khan Younis. Rafah which is on the border with Egypt could provide him with safe passage to a Muslim country that would agree to accept him.
Reports in the Qatari Al Araby al Jadeed newspaper said many of the Hamas tunnels in the northern part of the Strip were not found by Israeli forces.
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