10,000 unique decks of cards were distributed in recent days to IDF soldiers in Gaza, each containing 52 images of wanted senior Hamas figures, including the terrorist group's leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar and the shadowy chief of its military wing Mohammed Deif.
The initiative, whose origins are unclear, carries several explanations and symbolic meanings. First, the cards act as an identification tool for soldiers in combat. Second, the deck represents a "theoretical end to the war"m signifying the goal of either eliminating or capturing all Hamas leaders depicted, thus defining a clear endgame for the war. Additionally, this initiative aims to throw the senior Hamas leaders hiding in bunkers and tunnels off balance by demonstrating the IDF's resolve to capture them.
The U.S. military did something similar after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, distributing decks of cards with images of wanted figures from Saddam Hussein's regime. The idea of consolidating 52 senior Hamas figures into a single deck of cards accompanies more significant measures that Israel is advancing, such as international legal proceedings against them.
10 already down
To further undermine Hamas, the cards deliberately "demote" some of its senior members as a means of humiliation. For example, Yahya Sinwar is depicted as the Queen of Hearts instead of a King, Ace, or Joker.
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza, is perceived in Israel as a sociopath with an inflated ego, showing little regard for the well-being of the Palestinian people. The decision to symbolically "demote" him in the Hamas hierarchy aims to unnerve Sinwar, who was recently metaphorically likened to "a little Hitler in his bunker" by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Aces in the card deck are Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal, the current and former heads of the terrorist organization's politburo who both reside in luxury hotels in Doha, and Marwan Issa, a representative of the group's military wing in the politburo. Sinwar's brother, Muhammad, is the Black Jack. The Joker, fittingly, is Mohammed Deif. The deck includes 10 cards of senior figures who have already been eliminated.