“Wall of Jericho” newspaper…: Israel knew the details of Hamas’ plan more than a year ago

Israeli officials obtained Hamas’ plan for the violent Oct. 7 attack a year in advance, but found it difficult for Hamas to carry it out, according to documents, emails and interviews the New York Times said it had seen.

The newspaper reported that Israeli military and intelligence officials rejected the plan and described it as “ambitious,” considering it would be very difficult for Hamas to implement it.

The newspaper points out that the approximately 40-page document, which Israeli authorities have called the “Jericho Wall,” mentions “in detail” and “point by point” the devastating invasion that later led to the deaths of around 1,200 people.

The translated document, seen by The New York Times, did not specify a date for the attack, but described a systematic assault aimed at overcoming fortifications around the Gaza Strip, seizing Israeli cities and storming major military bases, including the headquarters of the division.

Hamas followed the plan with “shocking precision,” according to the New York Times: the document called for launching a barrage of rockets at the start of the attack, using drones to target security cameras and automatic machine guns along the border and the flow of people. militants in Israel en masse on gliders, motorcycles and on foot, and it all happened on October 7th.

The plan also included details about the location and size of Israeli military forces, communications centers and other sensitive information, raising questions about how Hamas gathers its intelligence and whether there are leaks within the Israeli security establishment.

The document was widely circulated among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, but experts decided that an attack of this scale and ambition exceeds Hamas’ capabilities, according to the documents and officials. It is unclear whether the document was also seen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other major political leaders.

Last year, shortly after obtaining the document, officials from the IDF’s Gaza Division, responsible for defending the Gaza border, said Hamas’ intentions were unclear.

A military assessment reviewed by The New York Times states that “it is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it might materialize.”

In July, just three months before the attacks, a veteran analyst from Unit 8200, an Israeli intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted intense one-day training exercises that appeared similar to what was outlined in the plot.

But a colonel in the Gaza Division downplayed his concerns, according to encrypted emails seen by the newspaper.

Officials privately acknowledge that if the army had taken these warnings seriously and redirected large reinforcements south, where Hamas had attacked, Israel could have countered or perhaps even prevented the attacks.

The war broke out on October 7, following the unprecedented attack launched by Hamas on Israeli territory, resulting in more than 1,200 deaths, most of them civilians, most of whom died on the first day, according to authorities Israeli.

In response to the attack, Israel vowed to “eliminate” Hamas and relentlessly bombed the Gaza Strip until the truce took effect. According to the Hamas government, more than 15,000 people have been killed in Gaza, including more than six thousand children.

The Israeli army and the Israeli Security Service, which is responsible for fighting terrorism in Gaza, declined to comment.

Different from other losses

Officials did not tell the newspaper how they obtained the “Wall of Jericho” document, but it was among numerous copies of attack plans collected over the years.

For example, a 2016 Department of Defense memo seen by the New York Times states: “Hamas intends to move next confrontation to Israeli territory.”

Such an attack would likely include hostage-taking and “the occupation of an Israeli community (and perhaps even a number of communities),” the note said.

As for the “Wall of Jericho” document, which takes its name from ancient fortifications in the modern West Bank, it is clearer than previous notes, according to the newspaper, as it talks in detail about missile attacks to distract Israeli soldiers and push them into bunkers and drones to interrupt the elaborate security measures along the fence, the border that separates Israel from Gaza.

Subsequently, the newspaper reported that Hamas militants would break through 60 points of the wall and storm the border with Israel.

One of the most important objectives mentioned in the document was to invade the Israeli military base in Ra’im, which includes the Gaza Division responsible for protecting the area. Other bases under divisional command are also listed.

Hamas achieved this on October 7, overrunning Re’im and parts of the base.

Israeli officials told the newspaper that the audacity of the plan makes it easy to underestimate, pointing out that all armies write plans that they never use. Israeli officials estimate that even if Hamas carries out its plan, it could mobilize a force of a few dozen people. , not the hundreds who would eventually attack.

Israel also misinterpreted Hamas’ actions. The movement had negotiated permits to allow Palestinians to work in Israel, which Israeli officials saw as a sign that Hamas was not seeking war.

But according to the newspaper, Hamas has been formulating attack plans for many years, and the Israeli authorities have obtained previous versions of them. The newspaper said: “What could have been an intelligence coup turned into one of the worst miscalculations in Israel’s 75-year history.”

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