Exactly one week after the atrocious murder of Israelis in a Hamas attack on southern Israel, the New York Times reveals how well-prepared the terrorists were and how extensive Israel's intelligence failure was. According to the report, heavily armed Hamas commando forces invaded using maps and precise plans to attack specific targets, with the knowledge of the IDF's defensive weak spots.
The investigative report was based on at least one document found in the possession of a killed terrorist, and on videos filmed by the invaders themselves, as well as on discussions with people in the know. It revealed a surprising knowledge of the terror group into the workings of the IDF, including the location of specific units and how long it would take reinforcements to arrive after the Hamas attack.
Hamas came in under the protection of its heavy rocket fire on Israel, by a massive invasion over land, and by air and sea. In order to disrupt the military's observation capabilities, Hamas launched UAVs to destroy communication towers and observation posts along the Gaza border, causing blind spots, while bulldozers broke through the border fence allowing hundreds across in the first wave, sources told the paper. A further 1,800, followed the initial invaders.
The terrorists attacked at least eight military bases in addition to their assault on civilian communities. The Times said the clips taken by the terrorists' head cameras, showed the invasion of the bases and the massacre of troops in them, in some cases killing soldiers in their sleep.
A military official told the paper that in some of the bases, the terrorists knew the exact location of communication servers and destroyed them so that the scope of the assault would not be revealed and a call for help would not be made quickly.
In many locations, the soldiers deployed in the defense of communities near the border were outnumbered and unable to repel the assault leading to the terrible massacre of civilians that ensued for hours. At least 1,000 civilians were murdered. The number of dead is currently confirmed at 1,300 and an estimated further 150 hostages were taken to Gaza among them soldiers, women, children and old people.
One video seen by the reporters of the New York Times, and taken by the commander of the 10-man terror force who was later killed, showed an intelligence base, which the terrorists knew the location of and was among the first to be attacked, approached by men on motorcycles, firing at civilian cars on the way, who blew up the unmanned gate and had time to take selfies of themselves inside.
At first, they struggled to identify the layout of the base and used maps provided to them in advance. They then entered through the unlocked door of what was a fortified building entering a room with computers that the Times described as an intelligence hub. Under a bed, they found two soldiers hiding, shot and killed them.
Security forces arrived and eliminated the terrorists only hours later. The video images show the moment a terrorist is killed, revealing the heavily bearded face of the dead terrorist. The paper did not publish the clip but did show freeze-frame images taken from it.
Hamas planned the attack over a long period of time including conducting military drills in plain sight of the IDF, while officials in Israel were convinced the Gaza-ruling terror group was deterred and had no interest in war. They believed Hamas was more concerned with improving economic conditions in the Strip after the cost of the 2021 round of fighting.
The Times said the preparations included meticulous instructions to terrorists, as one document found on the body of a dead terrorist, showed. It was dated October 2022, indicating preparations were underway for at least a year.
The document found by volunteers, assisting the rescue teams in one of the border communities, revealed that the terrorists were organized in units, each assigned clear targets. Some were given missions, others were assigned to be drivers and a third group was instructed to fire artillery rounds to provide cover.
One team was told to attack a specific community from specific directions. The document noted the estimated number of soldiers deployed in nearby positions, how many vehicles they had at their disposal and how long reinforcements would need to arrive. Four senior officials told the Times that in addition to the information in the document, they know other terrorists were told to control major intersections in order to prevent troops from reaching the areas under attack.
In the document, the terrorists received clear orders to kidnap Israelis. "Take soldiers and civilians prisoner and hostage so that we would use them to negotiate," the document said. This is in contradiction to claims made by Salah al Arouri, a senior Hamas official, to Al Jazeera, that Hamas only targeted the military and that the Israelis were taken by civilians crossing the breached border fence.
British Sky News reported overnight that a document found on a dead terrorist, which appears to be the same one described by the Times, referred to Kibbutz Miflasim, where the terrorists were repelled by local residents and prevented from invading.
One page in the document titled, The Mission at Kibbutz Miflasim, said the Hamas force would be made up of two commanders and two teams of five. Sky also reported that the document included an order to abduct soldiers and civilians. One of the teams was told to breach the security fence and indicated the time it would take and that reinforcements would arrive within 3 to 5 minutes.