Israeli officials ‘dismissed Hamas attack plan as too ambitious’

A veteran security analyst warned her Israeli colleagues that Hamas were preparing to ‘start a war’

Tom Watling
Friday 01 December 2023 18:35 GMT
Moment 11 Hamas hostages appear to cross into Israel

Israeli military officials discovered a 40-page Hamas plan detailing how they would carry out an attack over the Gaza border more than a year ago, but dismissed it as too ambitious, according to a report.

Top Israeli officials, including the head of the military and the Shin Bet domestic security agency, have acknowledged responsibility for the intelligence failure that led to the 7 October attack by Hamas in which 1,200 were killed and another 240 taken hostage back into Gaza.

The 40-page document, codenamed “Jericho Wall” by the Israeli military, outlined point-by-point the type of attack Hamas would undertake, The New York Times reported.

The proposal included calls for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack and drones to be used to knock out security cameras and automated weapons on the Gaza border fence, before gunmen break through into Israel in large numbers using paragliders, motorcycles and on foot - all of which happened on 7 October.

An Israeli flag hangs between destroyed houses in the kibbutz Kfar Azza, Israel, near the Gaza Strip

Officials in the Israeli military’s Gaza division, having viewed the documents last year, said Hamas’ plan remained unclear and suggested the militant group was incapable of carrying out such a mission in full.

“It is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested,” a military assessment reviewed by The New York Times said.

In July this year, three months before the Hamas attack, a veteran analyst with Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, is said to have reported that the militant group had carried out a day-long training exercise similar to what was proposed in the 40-page blueprint.

She warned her colleagues that Hamas appeared to be building the capacity to carry out an attack. But one official said the exercise was part of a “totally imaginative” scenario.

“In short, let’s wait patiently,” the official wrote.

The veteran analyst then insisted that the threat be taken seriously. “I utterly refute that the scenario is imaginary,” the analyst said in one email exchange.

She added: “It is a plan designed to start a war. It’s not just a raid on a village.”

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