A year before Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, a document detailing plans to carry out the assault circulated among Israeli officials, according to the New York Times.
While the approximately 40-page document reviewed by the Times did not mark a specific attack date, methods of the assault aimed at overwhelming Israeli defenses around the Gaza Strip and plans to storm key military bases and cities were reportedly outlined. The document had been code-named “Jericho Wall” by Israeli authorities, and laid out a plan for an onslaught of rockets, drones intended to incapacitate security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to enter Israel via paragliders, motorcylces, and on foot, per the report.
Leaders initially brushed off the attack plans as too complex for Hamas to execute, the Times reported. On Oct. 7, these series of assaults in Israel were carried out and led to the death of 1,200 people and the abduction of 200 hostages.
According to the Times, three months before the attack, a veteran analyst with Israel’s signals intelligence agency warned that Hamas had undergone a training exercise similar to what was detailed in the blueprint. However, according to emails viewed by the publication, her concerns were dismissed by a colonel in the Gaza division.
“I utterly refute that the scenario is imaginary,” the analyst wrote in an email. “It is a plan designed to start a war,” she added. “It’s not just a raid on a village.”
Israel’s Channel 12 on Monday previously reported on the leaked emails from Israeli military’s 8200 cyber-intelligence unit, per The Guardian, which said the source of the warning was a non-commissioned officer (NCO).
In defense of her findings, the NCO said, “They are training, in large forces, for a big event. This is not a parade of power, this is preparation for the real thing.”
Days after the attack in October, Israeli officials told Axios that the night before the assault, Israeli intelligence saw signs of irregular activity among Hamas operatives in Gaza. Although high-level consultations took place that day before, Israeli leaders decided to wait for more intelligence before putting IDF forces around Gaza on high alert, according to Axios. Hamas attacked several hours later.
In their separate report, the Times said that officials privately admitted that had the military considered these warnings seriously and taken steps to fortify the south, Israel could have mitigated or even prevented Hamas’ deadly attack.
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