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Hamas spies aided by ‘insider knowledge’ for 7 October attack

December 5, 2023 at 1:59 pm

Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a missile attack on Israel on October 7, 2023 with fighters simultaneously crossing the border from Gaza [Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images]

Hamas engaged in years of planning ahead of the 7 October attack, drafting detailed maps with the help of spies inside Israel, the Guardian has reported. The disclosure was apparently made by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Amshat military intelligence unit.

Documents examined by Israeli intelligence, including records of phone calls, notebooks and papers seized from Hamas fighters, have led to the conclusion that the Palestinian group infiltrated the Israeli military establishment while planning the 7 October attack. The material, released on Monday, highlighted the depth of Hamas’s preparation, and underscored the inadequacy of the Israeli security establishment’s understanding of the movement’s capabilities. Among the documents was a comprehensive map of an Israeli military base, indicating inside knowledge likely obtained from a Hamas spy.

Last week the New York Times revealed that Israeli officials had obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the attack more than a year before it happened. Knowledge of the attack was so familiar that the Israeli authorities codenamed it “Jericho Wall”. It set out the eventual multi-pronged Hamas offensive conducted with shocking accuracy and precision. It called for waves of rockets, drones disabling security infrastructure and fighters storming into Israel by land and air to overwhelm the nominal border areas.

New details revealed by the Israelis add further credence to the NYT report. The IDF highlighted recovered plans targeting military locations and key points in central Israel, suggesting that Hamas aspired to penetrate deep into the occupation state. The revelation emphasises the number of major signs and clues that were either missed or dismissed by Israel’s security forces prior to the attack.

The documents revealed further that Hamas fighters carried Israeli SIM cards, walkie-talkies and a radio transmitter with a solar battery for extended communications within Israel. Israeli intelligence agencies believe that approximately 3,000 Hamas fighters took part on 7 October, with around 1,500 being killed in the initial phase.

While signs of meticulous preparation were evident, the Israeli military also claims that most of the Hamas fighters were kept uninformed until the last minute, adding another element to the surprise attack.

Videos found on phones and laptops, including graphic footage of the attacks, were released on Monday. The images show the relative ease with which the fighters breached the Gaza border wall near the Egyptian border, emphasising again the extent of Hamas’s planning and execution.

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