In recent days, a Hamas anti-tank missile squad prepared to launch a Kornet missile from its hiding place at an IDF ground force unawares. An IDF Intelligence Corps sensor detected the Hamas cell at a crucial moment as they were targeting the soldiers with their missile launcher.
Within six minutes, a swift process unfolded at the Military Intelligence target bank. Additional intelligence resources locked in on the terrorist cell and a nearby fighter jet was promptly tasked with the mission. Armed with precise coordinates, the jet launched a missile that accurately hit and eliminated the target.
The ground troops, comprising young infantry and Armored Corps soldiers, remained unharmed and continued to carry out their duties to seek and eliminate Hamas terrorist operatives and dismantle their infrastructure.
This incident is just one of numerous similar operations directed by the recently established Target Directorate in Military Intelligence. Created four years ago, it entered the recent conflict with several thousand identified targets in Gaza. Since then, the directorate has tripled its list, striking over 12,000 targets.
The directorate produces some 150 targets per day on average, promptly fed to ground forces, the Navy, the Air Force and the Artillery Corps.
Early in the campaign, the target production unit's technologists developed a cutting-edge app that immediately assigns bombs, missiles or shells to designated targets. This innovation was named "Benji" in tribute to Major Benjamin Trakeniski, an officer of the 7th Armored Brigade who heroically fell in combat at Kibbutz Be'eri during the Oct. 7Hamas attack while he was firing at terrorists and assisting in evacuating the wounded.
At the same time, many of the targets generated by the unit are also aimed at Hamas's subterranean tunnel network in the Gaza Strip, which the IDF believed to have destroyed from the air during 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls.
While some of these tunnels were hit during that campaign, they have since been repaired and are back in use. Hamas continues to utilize these intact passages extensively to mobilize terrorists for engagements against IDF forces, operating both deep within the Gaza territory and along its perimeter, including over the past week.
With the launch of the IDF’s ground offensive in Gaza last Friday, the efforts of the Target Directorate allowed ground forces to advance toward their objectives with minimal resistance thanks to swift detection and aerial bombardment of Hamas positions and the effective targeting of booby-trapped sites and firing posts.
Despite these tactical successes, the scope of the war caught the Target Directorate off guard, both from an intelligence and operational standpoint. Military Intelligence had not previously simulated a comprehensive war scenario against Hamas, nor had it executed operations of this magnitude on the Gaza front, not even in mock drills.