A careful campaign of deception left Israel caught off guard when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched its devastating attack, allowing a force using bulldozers, hang gliders, and motorcycles to take on the most powerful army of Middle East.
Saturday’s assault, the worst breach in the defenses of Israel since the Arab armies declared war in 1973, it came after two years of subterfuge on the part of Hamaswho kept his military plans secret and He convinced Israel that he did not want to fight.
While being made to believe Israel that was containing a Hamas tired of war providing economic incentives to the workers of Loopthe group’s fighters were being trained and drilled, often in plain sight, said a source close to Hamas.
This source provided many of the details of the account of the attack and its preparation that has been reconstructed. Reuters. Three Israeli security sources, who like others asked not to be identified, also contributed to this story.
“Hamas gave Israel the impression that it was not prepared for a fight“said the source close to Hamasoutlining plans for the most surprising assault since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago, when Egypt and Syria they surprised Israel and they made him fight for his survival.
“Hamas used an unprecedented intelligence tactic to deceive Israel over the past few months, giving the public impression that it was unwilling to enter into a fight or confrontation with Israel as it prepared for this massive operation.”said the source.
Israel admits that he was caught off guard by an attack timed to coincide with the Sabbath Jewish and a religious holiday. fighters of Hamas They stormed Israeli cities, killing 700 Israelis and kidnapping dozens. Since then, Israel has killed more than 400 Palestinians in its retaliation against Loop.
“This is our 9/11”said the eldest Nir Dinarspokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces. “They have caught us”.
“They surprised us and arrived quickly from many points, both from the air and from land and sea.”.
Osama Hamdanrepresentative of Hamas in Lebanonsaid to Reuters that the attack demonstrated that the Palestinians had the will to achieve their objectives “regardless of Israel’s military power and capabilities.”
In one of the most striking elements of his preparations, Hamas built a Israeli settlement drill in Gaza where they practiced a military landing and trained to assault it, said the source close to Hamaswho added that they even recorded videos of the maneuvers.
“Israel surely saw them, but they were convinced that Hamas did not want to enter into a confrontation”the source stated.
Meanwhile, Hamas tried to convince Israel that he cared more about ensuring that the workers of Loopa narrow strip of land with more than two million residents, had access to jobs across the border and had no interest in starting a new war.
“Hamas was able to build an image that it was not prepared for a military adventure against Israel.”said the source.
Since the 2021 war with Hamas, Israel has attempted to provide a basic level of economic stability in Loop offering incentives, including thousands of permits so that Gazans can work in Israel either West Bankwhere salaries in construction, agriculture or services can be 10 times higher than those in Loop.
“We believed that having them come to work and bring money to Gaza would create a certain level of calm. we were wrong”declared another Israeli army spokesman.
An Israeli security source acknowledged that Israel’s security services were deceived by Hamas. “They made us believe they wanted money”said the source. “And all the time they participated in exercises/drills until they went haywire.”
As part of his subterfuge over the past two years, Hamas refrained from carrying out military operations against Israeleven when another Islamist armed group based in Loop known as Islamic Jihad launched a series of its own assaults or rocket attacks.
The restraint shown by Hamas sparked public criticism from some supporters, again aimed at creating the impression that Hamas he had economic concerns in mind and not a new war, the source said.
In West Bankcontrolled by the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his group Fatahthere were those who made fun of Hamas for keeping silent. In a statement of Fatah published in June 2022, the group accused the leaders of Hamas to flee to the Arab capitals to live in “luxury hotels and villas”, leaving his people mired in poverty in Loop.
A second Israeli security source said there was a period when Israel believed that the leader of the movement in Loop, Yahya Al-SinwarI was worried about managing Loop “instead of killing Jews”. At the same time, Israel diverted his attention from Hamas by promoting an agreement to normalize relations with Saudi Arabiahe added.
Israel It has long prided itself on its ability to infiltrate and monitor Islamist groups. Consequently, according to the source close to Hamasa crucial part of the plan was preventing leaks.
Many leaders of Hamas They were unaware of the plans and, while training, the 1,000 fighters deployed in the assault had no idea of the exact objective of the exercises, the source added.
When the day came, The operation was divided into four partssaid the source Hamasdescribing the various elements.
The first movement was a volley of 3,000 rockets fired from Gaza which coincided with raids fighters that flew over the border in Delta wingseither paragliders motorized, the source said. Israel has previously said that 2,500 rockets were fired at the beginning.
Once the hang glider fighters were on the ground, They secured the ground so that an elite commando unit could assault the fortified electronic and concrete wall built by Israel to prevent infiltration.
The fighters used explosives to break the barriers and then They crossed them at full speed on motorcycles. Bulldozers widened the gaps and more fighters entered in SUVs, scenes that witnesses described.
A commando unit attacked the Israeli army headquarters in southern Loop and blocked your communicationspreventing staff from calling commanders or communicating with each other, according to the source.
The final part consisted of transferring hostages to Loopwhich was largely achieved early in the attack, said the source close to Hamas.
In a highly publicized hostage situation, fighters kidnapped partygoers fleeing a party near the Kibbutz of Re’imnearly Loop. Images on social media showed dozens of people running through fields and roads as gunshots rang out.
“How could this party happen so close (to Gaza)?”said the Israeli security source.
The Israeli security source said Israeli troops were understrength in the south, near Loopbecause some had been redistributed to West Bank to protect Israeli settlers after an increase in violence between them and Palestinian militants.
“Hamas took advantage of it“said the source.
Dennis Rossa former negotiator middle East which is now in the Washington Institute for Near East Policysaid Israel had been distracted by the violence in West Bankwhich led to a “thin and poorly prepared presence in the south.”
“Hamas probably succeeded beyond its expectations. Now they will have to face an Israel determined to decimate them“, he claimed.
The retired general Yaakov Amidrorformer national security advisor to the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahutold reporters on Sunday that the assault represented “an enormous failure of the intelligence system and the military apparatus in the south.”
Amidrorpresident of the National Security Council between April 2011 and November 2013 and now principal investigator of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Securitysaid that some of the allies of Israel they had been saying that Hamas He had acquired “more responsibility.”
“Stupidly we started to believe it was true“, said. “So, we made a mistake. We will not make this mistake again and we will destroy Hamas, slowly but surely”.