IDF probe said to find pre-Oct. 7 intel should’ve been enough to thwart Hamas attack

Israeli TV reports that sources familiar with findings voiced ‘deep frustration’ over missed signs terror group was set to invade: Should have ‘lit up all the red lights’

FILE - Hamas terrorists are seen crossing the Israel-Gaza border fence on October 7, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
FILE - Hamas terrorists are seen crossing the Israel-Gaza border fence on October 7, 2023. (Kan TV screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An investigation by the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate into the events surrounding Hamas’s October 7 invasion and slaughter in southern Israel, presented to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Monday night, has found that there were more than enough indications of the imminent Hamas attack to have set off warning lights and enabled the prevention of the catastrophe, Israeli television reported.

The results of the probe, which Channel 12 news described as the “initial findings,” were presented to Halevi at a high-level meeting in his office, at which participants were required to sign a document pledging not to leak the material and agreeing to undergo polygraph tests if necessary in the future.

The TV report quoted “sources familiar” with the Intelligence Directorate probe as saying there were signs ahead of the attack that should have “lit up all the red lights” and that “we’ve mobilized various fronts in the past on less than this.”

People who have seen the material in the investigation have expressed “deep frustration,” the TV report said, because it should have been “possible to connect all the dots and prevent this.”

Participants in the Monday night meeting were also reportedly presented with material covering the IDF Gaza Division’s assessments from the time of the March 2018 Hamas-led Gaza border riots until October 7, 2023.

They also saw specific material concerning the events of October 6 and 7, the report added.

The presentation covered “what each of the [various IDF] elements knew, what information they shared with each other, and what steps were taken in light of what they understood.” The TV report said there were no arguments over the facts, but that there were disagreements “to some extent over interpretations.”

A handout photo released by the Shin Bet on June 14, 2024, shows agency chief Ronen Bar, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, head of the Operations Directorate Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, head of the Intelligence Directorate Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, and IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, before the start of Operation Arnon on June 8, 2024. (Shin Bet)

Although the Intelligence Directorate probe was said by military sources to have been “very thorough,” others estimated that Halevi may not accept the findings and instead seek a fuller investigation, led by incoming IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Shlomi Binder.

According to the report, this decision could be made due to “tensions” between the chief of staff and outgoing intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, who announced his resignation back in April, citing his role in the failures that led to the October 7 massacre.

In March, the IDF announced that it had sent out protocols to commanders on how their units were to carry out internal investigations.

The probes are aimed solely at drawing operational conclusions for the military, and will not look into the policies of the political leadership, in order to avoid a fight with government leaders who have insisted that investigations wait until after the end of Israel’s war against Hamas.

Alongside the initial findings presented to Halevi, the IDF is expected to present, at a future date, the investigations into the battles between October 7 and 10 — the point at which troops restored control over the communities and army bases in southern Israel that had been invaded by Hamas.

IDF troops regain control of Kibbutz Be’eri in Israel on October 8, 2023. (The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

There were some 40 battle locations, which are being investigated by more than 20 military commanders.

In June, the IDF said it hoped to complete all the battle investigations by the end of August.

Some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists burst from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on October 7, carrying out a murderous rampage of unprecedented intensity and breadth. The IDF struggled to mount a response, with bases closest to the border overrun and the chain of command seemingly broken amid the chaos.

The attack claimed the lives of some 1,200 people in Israel, with another 251 people kidnapped and much of the area devastated. Most victims were civilians.

In response, Israel launched a military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas and winning the freedom of hostages, 120 of whom still remain in captivity.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 37,900 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far, although the terror group does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, and the tolls cannot be verified. Israel says it has killed more than 15,000 terror operatives in battle inside the Palestinian enclave, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Israel’s toll in the ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza and in military operations along the border with the Strip stands at 322.

Troops operate in the Gaza Strip, in a photo cleared for publication on July 2, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The investigations being presented to Halevi are not related to planned external probes of the army’s conduct in the lead-up to October 7, which are currently on hold. Plans for the independent review were met with protest from government leaders, who apparently feared they could be criticized.

In late January, Halevi said an external investigation would only be launched once the internal probes were completed.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman also began to investigate the army’s failures as well as the conduct of the government, although in June, the High Court ordered him to suspend any aspects of the investigation that dealt with the IDF and the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency.

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