Hamas official: Non-military leaders ‘surprised by date, not by actions’ of onslaught

Moussa Abu Marzouk claims ‘political’ leaders of terror group were kept in dark over details of devastating attack; says group surprised by success of assault

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

A Hamas political bureau member based in Doha claimed in a Friday report that all of the terror group’s non-military members did not have prior knowledge of the details and timing of the shock attack on Israel.

Last Saturday, terrorists infiltrated by land, sea and air, and launched a devastating onslaught that killed over 1,300 people, a vast majority of them civilians.

The terrorists also captured between 150 and 200 hostages and took them to Gaza, including babies, young children, women and elderly people. The terror group additionally fired thousands of rockets.

“All of Hamas’s leaders who are not military ones received the news early Saturday morning,” Moussa Abu Marzouk told The New Yorker.

Abu Marzouk said the “political” leaders were “surprised by the date but not by the actions.”

The Qatar-based officials said Hamas’s military wing “are the ones who plan, execute, and so on, but they abide by the general policies put forth by our political bureau.”

A military official at the forensic center at the Military Rabbinate’s headquarters in Ramle stands in front of the remains of the victims of Hamas’s October 7 shock onslaught in Israel, October 13, 2023. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

He said that Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, was surprised by the success of its devastating early morning attack and expected the IDF units around Gaza to be “the strongest divisions, and the most trained,” with “a lot of information and fortifications,” as well as assistance from “intelligence officers who know a lot about our movements.”

The official also said Hamas “never expected” the confusion of the Israeli military in the face of the massive infiltration.

Abu Marzouk also denied — against overwhelming evidence, including footage posted proudly by terrorists — that Hamas killed civilians, but conceded that some of the indiscriminate violence may have been committed by other terrorists and civilians who had followed the initial Hamas terror squads when they blew open holes in the security barriers.

Israeli soldiers remove bodies of Israeli civilians in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Of the hostages, he said that the “innocent people” would not be held captive indefinitely: “We will not keep them.”

However, he added that “it’s too early to talk about swaps” between captured Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hamas’s Gaza leaders have threatened to execute hostages and post these executions online if Israel targets Gaza buildings without first warning occupants, as it has done in previous operations.

Israel has launched intense airstrikes in Gaza, vowing to “dismantle” Hamas.

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on October 13, 2023. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

On Friday, Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip in “localized raids” to clear the area of potential terrorists and locate missing Israelis in a likely precursor to a full-scale incursion, the military said.

The IDF has told civilians living in northern Gaza to evacuate to the southern part of the Strip.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said some 1,900 Palestinians had been killed since fighting began on October 7. It did not differentiate between members of armed groups and civilians.

Israel has said it is targeting terrorist infrastructure and all areas where Hamas operates or hides, and that Israeli forces have also killed some 1,500 Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into its territory since Saturday morning.

Abu Marzouk told The New Yorker that the threat to kill hostages is “a mistake — we can’t execute hostages,” and claimed four Israeli soldiers held captive had already died, blaming Israeli strikes.

“Let the situation calm down and the bombardment stop for us to be able to differentiate the prisoners from various factions. They are a very big number. Let us stop the war and everything can be discussed on this issue,” he said.

Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepts rockets launched from Gaza on October 11, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Asked what Hamas hoped to achieve with its deadly massacre that would only prompt punishing Israeli reprisals, he said it was the first time Palestinians “are crossing the borders and fighting in their historic land,” blaming Israel, the US, Europeans and everyone else for failures to “achieve the Palestinian people’s rights.”

“Israel used to wage war against us outside its borders, to kill us and imprison us. Now it’s the opposite. Now the future Israeli generations will know they can’t continue to occupy the Palestinians — they can’t continue their wars forever. This is the biggest achievement,” he said.

Abu Marzouk said Arab states will likely continue pursuing ties with Israel and that the devastating attack would likely only delay moves in this direction.

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