Israel knew of Hamas attack plan one year in advance – NYT
Israeli officials were warned about detailed plans for a major attack by Hamas more than one year before the militant group’s October 7 raid, which claimed around 1,200 lives, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Despite the warning, officials are said to have dismissed the threat as implausible.
The report by the US newspaper is based on analysis of an attack blueprint code-named ‘Jericho Wall’ by Israeli Intelligence officials, numbering around 40 pages, as well as emails and interviews.
The actual Hamas raid involved many of the elements outlined in the plan, including the use of drones to disable the Gaza border fence and the deployment of paragliders to send gunmen into Israeli territory. According to the NYT, Hamas fighters followed ‘Jericho Wall’ “with shocking precision.”
Militants reportedly even widely used a quote from the Quran which featured in the attack plan, and read: “Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail.” The verse was originally an instruction to Jews led by Moses to rely on God when facing an overwhelming enemy.
When the Israelis obtained the document last year, a military assessment stated it was “not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested,” according to the NYT.
Another warning came in July from a veteran female analyst with Israel’s signals intelligence agency, who reported that Hamas was conducting exercises that fully matched “the content of Jericho Wall.” Fighters used the same Quran quote during their training. The analyst warned that the group’s military capabilities were growing, but did not suggest that an attack was imminent.
An Israeli colonel in charge of the Gaza division brushed off the concerns, calling the Hamas plan a “totally imaginative” scenario and proposing to “wait patiently.” The analyst disagreed, and referenced the surprise attack by Syrian and Egyptian forces that started the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “We already underwent a similar experience 50 years ago on the southern front in connection with a scenario that seemed imaginary, and history may repeat itself if we are not careful,” she wrote.
According to the NYT, the Israelis failed to treat the warning signs seriously due to a “fatally inaccurate belief that Hamas lacked the capability to attack and would not dare to do so,” which prompted the government to “disregard growing evidence to the contrary.” Previous reporting by Israeli and international media has confirmed Israeli foreknowledge about Hamas plans, and the dismissal of warnings from female military service members that something was brewing in Gaza.