In the latest report on information and assessments that should have enabled the Israeli military leadership to prevent the October 7 Hamas-led onslaught, Channel 12 says that the intelligence officer of the IDF Gaza Division in July 2022 prepared a presentation setting out “The Mass Invasion Plan of Hamas.”
One diagram from the presentation shows some 20 Nukba Hamas terror squads invading southern Israel from Gaza. The presentation said the terror squads would be accompanied by engineering teams to breach the border fence and defenses in multiple places. The document reportedly included the sentence: “This invasion constitutes the gravest threat that IDF forces are facing in the defense [of Israel].”
Channel 12 further reports that IDF Military Intelligence held a discussion three months before October 7, at which an officer identified as Brig-Gen. Peh. concluded: “We have tried, but have not succeeded. We cannot say how [Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya] Sinwar will act, and therefore commanders in the field should take the necessary precautions.”
On October 1, the commander of the Gaza Division ordered a situational assessment, which found a “sharp increase in drills by Nukba forces.” Six Hamas battalions were drilling once or twice a week, the report on that assessment said. It specified which battalions were drilling, including several in northern Gaza and one in Khan Younis.
Nonetheless, according to Channel 12, the intelligence officer of the division summed up: “In the tension between the economic benefits for Hamas and the continued disturbances [that were taking place at the Gaza border], it seems that, at the moment, things are heading toward an arrangement and a calming of the disturbances.”
On the night of October 6-7, Channel 12 further reports, email was sent from an IDF base on the Gaza border about an imminent attack, describing “certain signs coming from Gaza.” At the same time, the Shin Bet also saw signs that something was up.
At around 3.30 a.m. on October 7, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi was awakened by his officer manager and updated on the various signs. He convened a situational assessment with the head of IDF Operations and the Southern Command chief some 90 minutes later.
After discussing the signs of a possible imminent attack. Halevi asked for more information and ordered that the Israel Air Force be updated. He also ordered that the intelligence information be checked — and checked from a perspective skeptical to the prevailing assumption that Hamas was not interested in war.
This, says Channel 12, may have marked the first crack in that conception of Hamas being deterred, but it was not sufficient for Halevi to have ordered preparations for a major incident.
Israel had multiple sources of information on Hamas’s drills and other preparations for an assault in the weeks ahead of October 7, reportedly including a 2022 Hamas attack plan.