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13 Oct, 2023 08:11

Hamas fighters carried detailed maps of Israeli targets – WSJ

Intelligence and plans for the deadly raid demonstrate a high level of sophistication, the newspaper said
Hamas fighters carried detailed maps of Israeli targets – WSJ

Hamas fighters, who poured into southern Israel last weekend in a massive surprise attack, had detailed maps of their targets, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday, based on analysis of document samples.

The maps, operational plans and instructions on how to engage the Israeli military were reportedly recovered from the bodies of Hamas militants. They indicate the sophistication of the preparation for the raids as well as suggesting that the plans included targeting civilians, the newspaper said.

One set of documents included Hamas intelligence on Mefalsim, a kibbutz (Jewish communal settlement). It included aerial pictures, noted that the community only had a volunteer defense force, and warned that Israeli troops could arrive within minutes.

The battle order allocated two squads of five men and one commander to storm Mefalsim and take hostages. Israeli guards fended off the militants at the site, but raids on other similar settlements were successful for the attackers.

Some of the documents included photos of tanks and armored vehicles used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and tips on how they can be defeated. The WSJ suggested that the manuals indicated that Hamas fighters did not have experience of such engagements, and that its leadership expected more resistance.

A Hamas representative claimed on social media on Thursday that the operation had been planned since 2021 and that the results exceeded the organization's expectations. Some 1,300 Israelis have been killed and at least 3,000 have been injured since the beginning of last week’s incursion.

Previous media reporting said Hamas managed to inflict so much damage by deceiving Israeli officials about its intentions, defeating their opponent’s intelligence-gathering, identifying and targeting the vulnerabilities of the high-tech wall along the Gaza border and exploiting lapses in Israeli military planning.

The incursion was the worst breach of Israeli national security in five decades. The Jewish state has pledged to destroy Hamas in retaliation. The IDF has besieged Gaza and subjected it to intensive bombardment. According to the latest numbers, some 1,500 people have been killed and thousands have been injured there.

On Thursday, Israel instructed residents of the Palestinian enclave living north of the Wadi Gaza river valley to relocate to the south within 24 hours. The UN said carrying out the order was impossible, considering that it affected some 1.1 million people.