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Israel ‘obtained Hamas plans for Oct 7 attack more than a year before’

Palestinians celebrate as an Israeli tank burns on the border on Oct 7
Palestinians celebrate as an Israeli tank burns on the border on Oct 7

Israeli officials reportedly saw a blueprint for Hamas’s October 7 massacre more than a year before it was carried out, prompting fresh questions about intelligence failures over the attack that claimed 1,200 lives.

The New York Times reported that Israeli intelligence bosses were passed a 40-page battle plan for the attacks, but dismissed it as unrealistic.

The document, codenamed “Jericho Wall”, reportedly contained plans for gliders to enter Israel from Gaza, automatic machine guns on the border and the use of drones to eliminate security cameras.

Those methods were used by Hamas on October 7, allowing the terror group to overwhelm Israeli defences, killing and kidnapping civilians in southern kibbutzim and at a music festival.

The newspaper reported that the plan was “circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders”, but dismissed as aspirational and beyond the military capabilities of Hamas.

“It is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested,” a military assessment reportedly said.

It is thought that if the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) had taken action to prevent the tactics from being deployed on October 7, the attack could have been foiled.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is facing questions over the failure of the Israeli intelligence services – which are among the most sophisticated in the world – to detect and prevent the massacre.

Mr Netanyahu initially blamed his military and intelligence chiefs in a tweet, before deleting it amid domestic political backlash.

Asked on Nov 7 why he had failed to prevent the attacks, he told ABC News: “It’s a very good question, because the first task of government is to protect the people and, clearly, we didn’t live up to that. We had a big, big setback.”

The New York Times reported that the Israeli military’s Gaza division concluded last year that Hamas had “decided to plan a new raid, unprecedented in its scope”, followed by a “large-scale manoeuvre” inside Israeli territory.

Military officials were also aware of a plan to overwhelm the Israeli border wall, with the Jericho Wall document quoting the Quran: “Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail.”

The assessment bears a chilling resemblance to the actual raid, which saw Hamas fighters break through Israeli barriers using construction vehicles and begin a ground assault.

It has been previously reported that Israeli spies heard that Hamas was planning an attack and attempted to warn the Netanyahu administration before it took place, but it is unknown which Israeli politicians were aware of the intelligence.

The latest disclosures suggest the level of information about Hamas’s plans was significant, but that military figures chose not to believe that it could ever take place.

The Israeli Gaza division that obtained the plans described them as a “compass” and “totally imaginative”, suggesting that they represented an ideal-world scenario for Hamas rather than a realistic possibility.

The news came as fresh rocket and gun attacks in Israel threatened to break a six-day ceasefire brokered by Qatar, to allow the release of hostages and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Joe Biden, the US president, has said he hopes the ceasefire will continue until all hostages have been released from Gaza, but an estimated 140 prisoners remain.