Israeli officials had intelligence that Palestinian terror group Hamas was preparing a wide-ranging attack before its October 7 assault but dismissed the information, The New York Times reported Thursday.
A document obtained by Israeli authorities at least a year before the attack “outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people,” the newspaper reported.
The 40-page document, which was reviewed by the newspaper, did not specify when the attack might happen. But it provided a blueprint that Hamas appears to have followed: an initial rocket barrage, efforts to knock out surveillance, and waves of gunmen crossing into Israel by land and air.
Some 3,000 Hamas terrorists burst into Israel on October 7 under cover of heavy rocket fire, attacking army bases and invading communities at a music festival. Some 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were brutally slaughtered in the unprecedented assault, and another approximately 240 people were taken hostage.
The Times said the document, which included sensitive security information about Israeli military capacity and locations, circulated widely among the country’s military and intelligence leaders, though it was not clear if it was reviewed by senior politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A military assessment last year determined it was too soon to say the plan had been approved by Hamas, and when an analyst with the country’s signals intelligence unit warned the group had carried out a training exercise in line with the plan, her cautions were dismissed.
She warned it was a “plan designed to start a war,” the newspaper said, but a colonel reviewing her assessment suggested they were drilling for an unrealistic scenario and told the analyst they would “wait patiently.”
The warnings did not suggest that Hamas was likely to carry out the plan imminently, and the intelligence community continued to believe that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was not interested in pursuing war with Israel, the Times said. It likened the intelligence failure to those in the United States before the September 11, 2001 attacks.