Report: Top IDF intelligence officer says he will quit over October 7 failures

Head of Intelligence Military Research Department says ‘other commanders’ must rebuild army after internal probes conclude, in comments made to top brass at conference

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Brig. Gen. Amit Saar, head of the Military Intelligence research department, speaks at a Gazit conference in Tel Aviv, December 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90/File)
Brig. Gen. Amit Saar, head of the Military Intelligence research department, speaks at a Gazit conference in Tel Aviv, December 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90/File)

A senior Israeli intelligence officer reportedly announced Tuesday his intention to resign over the failures that led to Hamas’s October 7 onslaught, marking the first time a high-ranking military official has declared he will leave his post over missteps in the lead-up to the brutal incursion.

The Kan public broadcaster on Wednesday quoted the head of the Military Intelligence Research Department, Brig. Gen. Amit Saar, as saying he will quit once the military wraps up its internal probes into its blunders, while also appearing to hint that other commanders should resign as well.

“I understand that as soon as the military investigation is finished, the ones who will rebuild everything in the Military Intelligence Directorate will be other commanders,” Saar reportedly said.

Kan said the remarks were made during a conference with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, the head of the Intelligence Directorate, the commander of Unit 8200, and other intelligence officers.

According to a Haaretz report in November, Saar twice warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in 2023 that domestic tensions over his government’s controversial judicial overhaul plans were encouraging Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas to potentially take military action against Israel.

The IDF last Thursday sent out protocols to commanders on how their units are to carry out internal investigations into the military’s failures in the lead-up to October 7.

Palestinian terrorists walk and drive away from a kibbutz near the border fence with the Gaza Strip, while carrying out a devastating cross-border attack in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. (AP Photo)

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

The internal investigations were to focus on a timeframe starting from the March 2018 Hamas-led Gaza border riots until October 10, 2023, when Israeli troops reestablished control of southern Israel following the onslaught.

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 onslaught claimed the lives of some 1,200 people in Israel, with another 253 people kidnapped and much of the area devastated. The vast majority of the victims were civilians.

In response, Israel launched a military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas and winning the freedom of hostages, 130 of whom still remain in captivity.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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