IDF intelligence soldier
IDF intelligence soldierIDF Spokesperson

A report in the New York Times on Monday revealed new details of the inquiry into the October 7th Hamas surprise attack on Israel, which left over 1,400 people dead.

According to the report, at 3:00 on the morning of the attack, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar was informed of unusual activity on the border but was unable to determine if what he was seeing was just another Hamas military exercise or something bigger. Citing three defense officials, the report states that until nearly the start of the attack, nobody believed the situation was serious enough to wake up Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

An additional failure mentioned in the report is that Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, had stopped eavesdropping on Hamas radio networks last year because they saw it as a waste of effort. Furthermore, American spy agencies in recent years had largely stopped collecting intelligence on Hamas and its plans, believing the group was a regional threat that Israel was managing.

The report also claims that a New York Times examination, based on dozens of interviews with Israeli, Arab, European, and American officials, as well as a review of Israeli government documents and evidence collected since the massacre, found that Israeli security officials spent months trying to warn Prime Minister Netanyahu that the political controversy surrounding his government's judicial reform plan was weakening the country’s security and emboldening Israel’s enemies.

The Times also quoted five people familiar with the assessments in stating that the official assessment of Israeli military intelligence and the National Security Council since May 2021 was that Hamas had no interest in launching an attack from Gaza that might invite a devastating response from Israel. Instead, Israeli intelligence assessed that Hamas was trying to foment violence against Israelis in the West Bank, which is controlled by its rival, the Palestinian Authority.