Home News Israel Knew Hamas’s Assault Plan Over a 12 months In the past

Israel Knew Hamas’s Assault Plan Over a 12 months In the past

Israel Knew Hamas’s Assault Plan Over a 12 months In the past


Israeli officers obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist assault greater than a yr earlier than it occurred, paperwork, emails and interviews present. However Israeli navy and intelligence officers dismissed the plan as aspirational, contemplating it too troublesome for Hamas to hold out.

The roughly 40-page doc, which the Israeli authorities code-named “Jericho Wall,” outlined, level by level, precisely the type of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 individuals.

The translated doc, which was reviewed by The New York Occasions, didn’t set a date for the assault, however described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications across the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key navy bases, together with a division headquarters.

Hamas adopted the blueprint with stunning precision. The doc referred to as for a barrage of rockets on the outset of the assault, drones to knock out the safety cameras and automatic machine weapons alongside the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on bikes and on foot — all of which occurred on Oct. 7.

The plan additionally included particulars concerning the location and dimension of Israeli navy forces, communication hubs and different delicate data, elevating questions on how Hamas gathered its intelligence and whether or not there have been leaks contained in the Israeli safety institution.

The doc circulated broadly amongst Israeli navy and intelligence leaders, however specialists decided that an assault of that scale and ambition was past Hamas’s capabilities, in accordance with paperwork and officers. It’s unclear whether or not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or different high political leaders noticed the doc, as effectively.

Final yr, shortly after the doc was obtained, officers within the Israeli navy’s Gaza division, which is accountable for defending the border with Gaza, stated that Hamas’s intentions had been unclear.

“It’s not but doable to find out whether or not the plan has been absolutely accepted and the way it will likely be manifested,” learn a navy evaluation reviewed by The Occasions.

Then, in July, simply three months earlier than the assaults, a veteran analyst with Unit 8200, Israel’s indicators intelligence company, warned that Hamas had performed an intense, daylong coaching train that appeared just like what was outlined within the blueprint.

However a colonel within the Gaza division dismissed her considerations, in accordance with encrypted emails seen by The Occasions.

“I completely refute that the situation is imaginary,” the analyst wrote within the e-mail exchanges. The Hamas coaching train, she stated, absolutely matched “the content material of Jericho Wall.”

“It’s a plan designed to start out a struggle,” she added. “It’s not only a raid on a village.”

Officers privately concede that, had the navy taken these warnings significantly and redirected vital reinforcements to the south, the place Hamas attacked, Israel might have blunted the assaults or probably even prevented them.

As an alternative, the Israeli navy was unprepared as terrorists streamed out of the Gaza Strip. It was the deadliest day in Israel’s historical past.

Israeli safety officers have already acknowledged that they failed to guard the nation, and the federal government is predicted to assemble a fee to check the occasions main as much as the assaults. The Jericho Wall doc lays naked a yearslong cascade of missteps that culminated in what officers now regard because the worst Israeli intelligence failure for the reason that shock assault that led to the Arab-Israeli struggle of 1973.

Underpinning all these failures was a single, fatally inaccurate perception that Hamas lacked the aptitude to assault and wouldn’t dare to take action. That perception was so ingrained within the Israeli authorities, officers stated, that they disregarded rising proof on the contrary.

The Israeli navy and the Israeli Safety Company, which is accountable for counterterrorism in Gaza, declined to remark.

Officers wouldn’t say how they obtained the Jericho Wall doc, however it was amongst a number of variations of assault plans collected through the years. A 2016 Protection Ministry memorandum seen by The Occasions, for instance, says, “Hamas intends to maneuver the subsequent confrontation into Israeli territory.”

Such an assault would most probably contain hostage-taking and “occupying an Israeli neighborhood (and maybe even a lot of communities),” the memo reads.

The Jericho Wall doc, named for the traditional fortifications within the modern-day West Financial institution, was much more express. It detailed rocket assaults to distract Israeli troopers and ship them hurrying into bunkers, and drones to disable the flowery safety measures alongside the border fence separating Israel and Gaza.

Hamas fighters would then break via 60 factors within the wall, storming throughout the border into Israel. The doc begins with a quote from the Quran: “Shock them via the gate. In case you do, you’ll actually prevail.”

The identical phrase has been broadly utilized by Hamas in its movies and statements since Oct. 7.

Probably the most vital targets outlined within the doc was to overrun the Israeli navy base in Re’im, which is house to the Gaza division accountable for defending the area. Different bases that fell beneath the division’s command had been additionally listed.

Hamas carried out that goal on Oct. 7, rampaging via Re’im and overrunning elements of the bottom.

The audacity of the blueprint, officers stated, made it straightforward to underestimate. All militaries write plans that they by no means use, and Israeli officers assessed that, even when Hamas invaded, it’d muster a drive of some dozen, not the tons of who finally attacked.

Israel had additionally misinterpret Hamas’s actions. The group had negotiated for permits to permit Palestinians to work in Israel, which Israeli officers took as an indication that Hamas was not in search of a struggle.

However Hamas had been drafting assault plans for a few years, and Israeli officers had gotten maintain of earlier iterations of them. What might have been an intelligence coup became one of many worst miscalculations in Israel’s 75-year historical past.

In September 2016, the protection minister’s workplace compiled a top-secret memorandum primarily based on a a lot earlier iteration of a Hamas assault plan. The memorandum, which was signed by the protection minister on the time, Avigdor Lieberman, stated that an invasion and hostage-taking would “result in extreme injury to the consciousness and morale of the residents of Israel.”

The memo, which was seen by The Occasions, stated that Hamas had bought refined weapons, GPS jammers and drones. It additionally stated that Hamas had elevated its combating drive to 27,000 individuals — having added 6,000 to its ranks in a two-year interval. Hamas had hoped to succeed in 40,000 by 2020, the memo decided.

Final yr, after Israel obtained the Jericho Wall doc, the navy’s Gaza division drafted its personal intelligence evaluation of this newest invasion plan.

Hamas had “determined to plan a brand new raid, unprecedented in its scope,” analysts wrote within the evaluation reviewed by The Occasions. It stated that Hamas meant to hold out a deception operation adopted by a “large-scale maneuver” with the goal of overwhelming the division.

However the Gaza division referred to the plan as a “compass.” In different phrases, the division decided that Hamas knew the place it needed to go however had not arrived there but.

On July 6, 2023, the veteran Unit 8200 analyst wrote to a bunch of different intelligence specialists that dozens of Hamas commandos had just lately performed coaching workout routines, with senior Hamas commanders observing.

The coaching included a dry run of capturing down Israeli plane and taking up a kibbutz and a navy coaching base, killing all of the cadets. Throughout the train, Hamas fighters used the identical phrase from the Quran that appeared on the high of the Jericho Wall assault plan, she wrote within the e-mail exchanges seen by The Occasions.

The analyst warned that the drill intently adopted the Jericho Wall plan, and that Hamas was constructing the capability to hold it out.

The colonel within the Gaza division applauded the evaluation however stated the train was a part of a “completely imaginative” situation, not a sign of Hamas’s capacity to tug it off.

“In brief, let’s wait patiently,” the colonel wrote.

The back-and-forth continued, with some colleagues supporting the analyst’s unique conclusion. Quickly, she invoked the teachings of the 1973 struggle, through which Syrian and Egyptian armies overran Israeli defenses. Israeli forces regrouped and repelled the invasion, however the intelligence failure has lengthy served as a lesson for Israeli safety officers.

“We already underwent an identical expertise 50 years in the past on the southern entrance in reference to a situation that appeared imaginary, and historical past could repeat itself if we’re not cautious,” the analyst wrote to her colleagues.

Whereas ominous, not one of the emails predicted that struggle was imminent. Nor did the analyst problem the traditional knowledge amongst Israeli intelligence officers that Yahya Sinwar, the chief of Hamas, was not interested by struggle with Israel. However she appropriately assessed that Hamas’s capabilities had drastically improved. The hole between the doable and the aspirational had narrowed considerably.

The failures to attach the dots echoed one other analytical failure greater than twenty years in the past, when the American authorities additionally had a number of indications that the terrorist group Al Qaeda was getting ready an assault. The Sept. 11, 2001, assaults on the World Commerce Heart and the Pentagon had been largely a failure of study and creativeness, a authorities fee concluded.

“The Israeli intelligence failure on Oct. 7 is sounding increasingly like our 9/11,” stated Ted Singer, a just lately retired senior C.I.A. official who labored extensively within the Center East. “The failure will probably be a niche in evaluation to color a convincing image to navy and political management that Hamas had the intention to launch the assault when it did.”


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