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Israel-Palestine war: Israel obtained Hamas attack plan over a year ago, says report

Israeli officials deemed a 40-page document outlining detailed plans for attack on Israel to be too ambitious, according to New York Times
Abandoned and torched vehicles near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel on 13 October 2023 (AFP)
Abandoned and torched vehicles near Kibbutz Re'im in southern Israel on 13 October 2023 (AFP)

Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the 7 October attack more than a year before it happened, but dismissed it as too ambitious, according to new report by The New York Times.

The newspaper reported on Thursday that Israeli officials had obtained a 40-page document that Israel named "Jericho Wall".

The document, seen by the Times, outlines the attack plan carried out by Palestinian armed groups with precise details.

The plan did not set a date for the attack, but did include "details about the location and size of Israeli military forces, communication hubs and other sensitive information".

It detailed the use of rocket attacks to distract Israeli soldiers, drones to disable security measures, and overrunning the Israeli military base in the kibbutz of Re'im.

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Hamas did indeed overrun parts of Re'im during its 7 October surprise attack on southern Israeli communities, which killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and resulted in around 240 captives being taken to the Gaza Strip.

According to the New York Times, an intelligence analyst in Israel's Unit 8200 warned in July that Hamas had carried out a day-long training exercise similar to the plans outlined in Jericho Wall.

The analyst said it included a dry run of shooting down an Israeli aircraft and taking over a kibbutz and a military training base, and killing all its cadets. 

The logic behind Israel's Gaza attack, if any, is anyone's guess
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A military official in Israel's division responsible for containing threats from Gaza reportedly applauded the analysis but called it a "totally imaginative" scenario.

According to the report, Israel may have been able to blunt or prevent Hamas' attack had the warnings been taken seriously and significant military reinforcements been deployed in southern Israel. 

The Jericho Walls document was circulated widely among senior Israeli military and intelligence officials, but was deemed to be beyond Hamas' capabilities. 

The New York Times said it could not determine whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw the document.

More than 15,000 Palestinians in Gaza - mostly women and children - have been killed by Israeli bombardment since the war began nearly two months ago. 

On Friday, a seven-day truce between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza came to an end, with hostilities having resumed immediately upon its expiry.

During the week-long halt in fighting, 240 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails in exchange for 105 captives held in Gaza. 

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