Israel ‘knew about Hamas attack plans’ a year before it happened, report says

World

Israel knew about plans for a Hamas attack on its soil more than a year before the 7 October assault that killed more than a thousand people, according to the New York Times.

The paper said officials in Israel had a 40-page battle plan, which they called “Jericho Wall”, which set out a hypothetical attack by Hamas on communities in southern Israel.

On 7 October, 1,200 people were killed and 240 more were abducted and taken into Gaza. More than 75 have now been released as part of a now-expired ceasefire.

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It is not clear how Israel obtained the document, but it had been translated, suggesting it could have originally been written in Arabic and come from Hamas.

The New York Times said the report had been seen by military and intelligence officials, but did not know if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been shown it.

It said Hamas could pummel Israel with rockets and use drones to disable security systems at the border wall, so it could take control of southern communities and military bases.

An earlier memo obtained by the New York Times from 2016, said Hamas would take hostages back into Gaza.

Despite having Jericho Wall in their possession, the New York Times said Israeli officials brushed off the Hamas plans, deeming them “aspirational” rather than something that could actually happen.

The report in the New York Times comes amid criticism of Mr Netanyahu, with some claiming he failed to prevent an attack, despite there being warning signs.

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Video showed Hamas fighters preparing for an attack

A month before the attack, Hamas posted a video on social media which appeared to show its fighters using explosives on a mocked-up border gate, then move through a reconstruction of an Israeli town with vehicles and weapons.

The video also showed fighters destroying what appeared to be mock-ups of the border wall and communications aerial – just as they did on 7 October.

When asked about the report, the Israeli military declined to comment, and instead said it was “currently focused on eliminating the threat from terrorist organisation Hamas.”

It added: “Questions of this kind will be looked into at a later stage.”

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Away from the Times report, there is frustration in Israel after local media said military officials dismissed warnings from women border spotters, who said they saw Hamas preparations for the attack.

Local press reported a young woman had said she saw militants using drones and trying to knock out border cameras in the build up to the attack.

Mr Netanyahu has said blame over the attack can be determined once the war is over.

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