US disappointed in Israel's preparations for Hamas attack, investigating intelligence failures
Despite prior warnings indicating that Palestinian militants were preparing an attack, and the fact that the US had granted Israel USD 3.3 billion for defense in 2022, Israel was not adequately prepared for an effective defense
Bloomberg reported the information.
The attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Israel could be one of the biggest failures of Israeli intelligence since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, according to American experts.
"It’s shocking to me that they were able to do it without Israel or the United States picking up on it. Failure to prepare. Failure to have troops along the border, failure of the fence along the border that they paid millions of shekels for," said Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Israeli officials have been saying for months that Hamas was preparing to commit terrorism, announcing the time and scale of the attack, but Israel's leadership was not prepared for effective resistance, despite the fact that the US has allocated USD 3.3 billion for Israel's defense in 2022. The US compares the attack to the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Israel was unable to repel a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Israeli officials rejected any comparison to 1973.
"Please don’t give Hamas the sophistication of the Yom Kippur War. I know there are a lot of questions about the intelligence. Please stop asking. Right now we’re fighting. I’m sure there will be a lot of discussions about the intelligence down the road," said IDF spokesman Richard Hecht.
One of the reasons for Israel's lack of readiness to defend may have been that it was a national holiday in the country or that the Israeli army and intelligence services’ attention was diverted to internal matters.
"The real problem here is likely that the Israelis simply did not believe that Hamas would risk a cross-border infiltration. The lack of sufficient Israeli forces in that area was a grievous failure," said Aaron David Miller, senior fellow at the Carnegie endowment for international peace and a former state department Middle East negotiator.
Events in Israel: latest updates
On the morning of Saturday, October 7, 2023, the Palestinian armed groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched a massive air and land attack on the state of Israel in several places. The head of the Hamas military wing, Mohammed Deif, said that his militants had launched the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. According to him, these actions are intended to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The Palestinians launched 2,000 to 3,000 missiles at Israel and simultaneously seized 7 communities in the south.
In response, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced the mobilization of reservists and the launch of the Iron Swords counterterrorism operation. For the first time in 50 years, the government introduced martial law in the country.
The IDF actively used aviation to strike Palestinian command posts. It has also begun clearing Hamas-occupied communities.
In addition, there is a great threat that the Shiite Hezbollah could attack Israel from the north, as its main partner and supplier, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), has called on jihadists to "liberate Jerusalem."
On the morning of October 8, the Saudi television channel Al Arabiya published the losses of both Palestinians and Israelis during the first day of the renewed military conflict. According to the channel, Israel lost 300 people killed and at least 1,600 wounded. The number of casualties from the Palestinian-populated Gaza Strip is 232 killed and 1,627 wounded.
On October 8, Israeli troops claimed that Lebanon had attacked their territory, so the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) attacked in response. In particular, Israeli aviation struck a complex belonging to the head of Hamas' intelligence.
Militants of the Lebanese military-political organization Hezbollah fired at Israeli positions on the border with the disputed Golan Heights and supported Hamas in its operation against Israel.