Tue 28 Nov 2023 7:58 am - Jerusalem Time
Israeli report| Before Hamas attack on October 7... reducing an Israeli intelligence team and warning of a “plan to start a war.”
The report stated that a female officer quoted senior Hamas officials as chanting slogans that the report described as “battle cries.” She emphasized: “They are training, with large forces, for a major event... This is preparation for the real thing.”
An officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Israeli Army Intelligence Division deliberately reduced the team of intelligence operatives, charged with collecting intelligence information about the activities of the Hamas movement, so that the team would not work at night, nor on weekends as well, according to what was revealed by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan), in a report issued Monday.
The report indicated that the aforementioned officer had said in a “closed lecture” about two years ago that “the warning in the Gaza arena will not come from classical sources,” indicating that intelligence information about what Hamas is planning “will come either from a private source, or via cyber, and not on the basis of tactical eavesdropping.”
The broadcasting authority quoted an intelligence source, which it said was familiar with the details of this, that the presence of an intelligence team like the one mentioned in the hours preceding the attack of last October 7 does not necessarily mean that it was able to issue advance warning about the surprise attack carried out by Hamas. However, he indicated that this will be examined in the investigations that will be conducted later.
Although he did not confirm that the work of the intelligence team would have necessarily prevented a Hamas attack, the same source stressed that it “could have helped provide a real-time picture of the situation, amid the chaos of the first hours of the attack, such as the places where the elite forces (fighters) were hiding of the Hamas movement, who were present in the “Gaza envelope” settlements during the attack.
The broadcasting corporation stated, “The reduction in the number of employees and working hours indicates a failure in arranging priorities within the intelligence service.”
“Control of a kibbutz”; “We are fully prepared and awaiting instructions.”
In this context, the newspaper "Haaretz" reported on its website, on Monday, that the officer in the Military Intelligence Division, who had previously warned of a possible "mass infiltration operation" by fighters of the "Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades", the military wing of the Hamas movement, She told her leaders that Hamas members had completed a military training exercise, with the words: “We have finished killing all the residents of the kibbutz.”
According to a report by Israeli Channel 12, on July 6 of this year, the officer sent an email to her commanders, entitled: “Death in the kibbutz, at any cost.”
According to the report, the female officer mentioned in the same letter that “at the end of last May, there was a ‘crazy’ training session for two ‘elite’ companies, in the presence of a number of senior Hamas officials.”
The training, according to the same letter, was “long and exhausting, and lasted from the morning hours until eight-thirty in the evening,” and included Al-Qassam members driving four-wheel drive vehicles and motorcycles. It also included training on a scenario of shooting down Israeli aircraft and a drone.
According to the officer, the main training of Hamas members was focused on “controlling the kibbutz, which they called with an invented name,” according to the report.
The officer pointed to another target identified by Hamas members, which was a “military training base.” In this regard, the officer wrote in her warning message: “Instructions have been issued to kill the entire crew.”
Three days later, another member of the same unit was informed that additional training had been conducted for additional battalions in Hamas, where each battalion trained for a special and specific goal.
The report indicated that the officer then sent another email, which stated: “A nice little addition (to the warning she had previously sent) - during training, the following conversation took place (among Hamas members): ‘How are you doing and what is your state of readiness? “Awaiting instructions from you so that we can enter them from the gate, and we are fully prepared, awaiting instructions from you.”
A senior Israeli officer: an unrealistic scenario
Later, on July 12, for the first time, a senior intelligence officer in the region responded to this extensive email correspondence, according to the report, which noted that while the officer praised the officer for her work and agreed that “the exercise sounds crazy,” he wrote. “But the exercise scenario described, according to what (the officer) initially wrote, is completely fictional... and we need to see what is realistic.”
Even after that, the same officer insisted on the information she provided, and also presented her analysis on it, saying: “I strongly deny the existence of an imaginary scenario. It is difficult for me to imagine that the purpose of it (military training) was to practice an imaginary scenario and raise morale.” In my view, this scenario is very likely, mainly because Hamas has the ability to implement it.
One of the officer's colleagues also sent another message confirming that he shared the officer's position and analysis, and said in his message: "I confirm that we completely and categorically disagree with the assumption that this is a fictional scenario."
"Prepare for the real thing"
The officer stressed that this may be “an implementation plan, without a timetable for implementation,” and according to the report; “In other words: we will not be able to give warning in time.”
She also confirmed that what is happening is a “strategic event,” according to the information she has. As she put it, “This is a plan designed to start a war.”
The report stated that the female officer, while spying on the training, quoted senior Hamas officials chanting slogans that the report described as “battle cries.” She emphasized: “They are training, with large forces, for a major event... This is preparation for the real thing.”
For its part, the Israeli army said after the channel approached it: “These days, the Israeli army is completely focused on fighting the Hamas terrorist organization. After the war, the Israeli army will conduct an in-depth, careful and uncompromising investigation, and publish its results to the public.”