Tel Aviv: One week after the murder of Israelis in a Hamas attack on southern Israel, the New York Times reveals how well-prepared the terrorists were and how extensive Israel’s intelligence failure was.
According to the report, heavily armed Hamas commando forces invaded using maps and precise plans to attack specific targets, with the knowledge of the IDF’s defensive weak spots, Ynet News reported.
The investigative report was based on at least one document found in the possession of a killed terrorist, and on videos filmed by the invaders themselves, as well as on discussions with people in the know of things.
It revealed a surprising knowledge of the terror group into the workings of the IDF, including the location of specific units and how long it would take reinforcements to arrive after the Hamas attack.
Hamas came in under the protection of its heavy rocket fire on Israel, by a massive invasion over land, and by air and sea. In order to disrupt the military’s observation capabilities, Hamas launched UAVs to destroy communication towers and observation posts along the Gaza border, causing blind spots, while bulldozers broke through the border fence allowing hundreds across in the first wave, sources told the paper. A further 1,800 followed the initial invaders, YNet News reported.
The terrorists attacked at least eight military bases in addition to their assault on civilian communities. The New York Times said the clips taken by the terrorists’ head cameras, showed the invasion of the bases and the massacre of troops in them, in some cases killing soldiers in their sleep.
A military official told the paper that in some of the bases, the terrorists knew the exact location of communication servers and destroyed them so that the scope of the assault would not be revealed and a call for help would not be made quickly.
In many locations, the soldiers deployed in the defense of communities near the border were outnumbered and unable to repel the assault leading to the terrible massacre of civilians that ensued for hours, Ynet News reported.
One video seen by the reporters of the New York Times, and taken by the commander of the 10-man terror force who was later killed, showed an intelligence base, which the terrorists knew the location of and was among the first to be attacked, approached by men on motorcycles, firing at civilian cars on the way, who blew up the unmanned gate and had time to take selfies of themselves inside, Ynet News reported.
At first, they struggled to identify the layout of the base and used maps provided to them in advance. They then entered through the unlocked door of what was a fortified building entering a room with computers that the NY Times described as an intelligence hub. Under a bed, they found two soldiers hiding, shot and killed them.
Security forces arrived and eliminated the terrorists only hours later. The video images show the moment a terrorist is killed, revealing the heavily bearded face of the dead terrorist, the report said.
Hamas planned the attack over a long period of time including conducting military drills in plain sight of the IDF, while officials in Israel were convinced the Gaza-ruling terror group was deterred and had no interest in war. They believed Hamas was more concerned with improving economic conditions in the Strip after the cost of the 2021 round of fighting.
The New York Times said the preparations included meticulous instructions to terrorists, as one document found on the body of a dead terrorist, showed. It was dated October 2022, indicating preparations were underway for at least a year, Ynet News reported.
The document found by volunteers, assisting the rescue teams in one of the border communities, revealed that the terrorists were organiaed in units, each assigned clear targets. Some were given missions, others were assigned to be drivers and a third group was instructed to fire artillery rounds to provide cover.
One team was told to attack a specific community from specific directions. The document noted the estimated number of soldiers deployed in nearby positions, how many vehicles they had at their disposal and how long reinforcements would need to arrive, Ynet News reported.
In the document, the terrorists received clear orders to kidnap Israelis. “Take soldiers and civilians prisoner and hostage so that we would use them to negotiate,” the document said.
This is in contradiction to claims made by Salah al Arouri, a senior Hamas official, to Al Jazeera, that Hamas only targeted the military and that the Israelis were taken by civilians crossing the breached border fence.