Monday, March 4, 2024

Hamas attack originally planned for April: Report

The Gaza-based Palestinian armed group, Hamas, originally sought to carry out its October 7 attack on the Jewish holiday of Passover, which fell on April 5 this year, sources in Israel's military intelligence say.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) caught wind of the planned assault, detecting the early signs of Hamas preparations, soldiers with the 8,200 signal intelligence unit told Israel’s Channel 12 TV. The data reportedly prompted the IDF to increase its alert level, which led to the Palestinian group abandoning the initial plan.

The IDF eventually considered the intelligence warnings to be a false alarm, the report added. Hamas, the sources claim, focused on internal security and kept most of its members in the dark about subsequent plans, including the timing of a new incursion, scheduled for October 7.

According to Israeli media reports, surveillance units on the border with Gaza alerted the IDF to “unusual” Hamas training exercises some three months before the October attack, but their concerns were reportedly dismissed as “fantasies.”

The Financial Times also reported, citing sources, that Israeli border sentries had compiled a detailed file on the then-looming Hamas attack and presented it to the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the southern command, weeks before it took place. The document reportedly contained “specific warnings”, namely plans to breach the border at multiple points and seize local settlements, according to the outlet.

The IDF neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the ignored intelligence, when approached by the FT. Earlier, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz cited an unnamed female soldier who blamed institutionalized sexism in the ranks for the lack of attention to reports from its border sentries.

The October 7 attack by Hamas killed some 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians. Tel Aviv responded with heavy bombardments of the Gaza Strip, followed by a ground operation. The death toll on the Palestinian side has since surpassed 14,800, according to officials in the Gaza enclave.

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