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Israeli officials dismissed Hamas's attack plan a year before October assault, documents reveal

The 40-page document, named "Jericho Wall," outlined the assault that eventually led to around 1,200 casualties. The plan included strategies such as missile attacks, the use of drones, and infiltrations via paragliders, all of which were executed during the attack

Israeli officials dismissed Hamas's attack plan a year before October assault, documents reveal
First Published Dec 1, 2023, 8:58 AM IST

Revelations from documents accessed by The New York Times expose a significant lapse in Israeli intelligence, where officials reportedly obtained Hamas's comprehensive battle plan more than a year before the devastating October 7 attack but dismissed it as overly ambitious. The 40-page document, codenamed 'Jericho Wall', intricately outlined the assault that ultimately resulted in the tragic loss of approximately 1,200 lives.

The translated document, meticulously reviewed by The New York Times, lacked a specified date for the attack but provided a step-by-step account of a methodical invasion strategy. The plan aimed to overpower the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, seize control of Israeli cities, and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters.

Within the document were forecasts of a missile onslaught, the use of drones to disable security cameras, and the deployment of automated machine guns along the border. Most notably, it detailed the infiltration of gunmen into Israel using paragliders, on foot, and via motorcycles -- precisely the methods executed during the eventual assault.

The crucial question remains whether the document reached the higher echelons of Israeli leadership, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The documents indicate that the concerns raised by a veteran analyst from Israel's signals intelligence agency regarding Hamas's extensive training exercises in July were seemingly brushed aside by a colonel in the Gaza division.

Concurrently, groups in Gaza carried out joint drills that reportedly mirrored the tactics employed during the October 7 attack. Disturbingly, these exercises, resembling hostage-taking scenarios, compound raids, and breaches of Israel's defences, were shared on social media platforms and occurred less than a mile from the Israeli barrier.

Shortly after obtaining the detailed plan, officials within the Israeli military's Gaza division issued statements expressing uncertainty about Hamas's intentions. A military assessment reviewed by The Times stated, "It is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested," reflecting a potential lapse in strategic foresight that would later prove tragically consequential.

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