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Israel knows location of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, but he is using hostages as human shields: reports

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The Israeli military knows the location of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar but has not launched strikes against him because he is using Israeli hostages as human shields, according to multiple reports in Israeli media.

Israel has been publicly searching for Sinwar in southern Gaza for weeks, with reports suggesting he is somewhere in Hamas’ labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city of Khan Younis. The IDF has refused to comment on reports that it knows the terrorist leader’s location, however.

‘The reports coming out of Israel over the last two days echo what I have heard for a few weeks,’ Jonathan Schanzer, vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Times of Israel. ‘Namely, the Israelis have a good idea where Yahya Sinwar is hiding.’

Israel believes there are at least 133 Israeli and foreign hostages being held in Gaza, though it is unclear how many of them remain alive.

Israeli forces took over Sinwar’s private compound in Gaza weeks ago, but said the leader had long since fled the residence.

Reports from some hostages who have been released say Sinwar met with them a few days after they were taken from Israel into Gaza.

‘Sinwar was with us three-four days after we got there,’ Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, told the Davar news outlet. ‘I asked him how he wasn’t ashamed, to do such a thing to people who for years support peace? He didn’t answer. He was quiet.’

The reports about Sinwar also indicate that Israel knows the location of at least some of the remaining Israeli hostages.

Both sides are currently engaged in negotiations over a potential second round of hostage exchanges. Hamas expressed interest in exchanging 40 Israeli hostages for 120 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons last week, but Israel rejected the deal.

Hamas negotiators also grew cold last week after one of its leaders, Saleh al-Arouri, was killed in an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the strike.

While Israel remains open to a hostage deal on the right terms, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that the war against Hamas in Gaza will last for ‘many more months.’

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