Infiltration from Gaza
Infiltration from GazaAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The BBC on Monday published an extensive article with testimonies from IDF lookouts who warned of the suspicious signs of the surprise attack by Hamas before October 7.

Noa, not her real name, told the BBC the lookouts would pass information about what they were seeing to intelligence and higher-ranking officers, but were powerless to do more. "We were just the eyes," she said.

It was clear to some of these women that Hamas was planning something big - that there was, in Noa's words, a "balloon that was going to burst".

"We would see them practicing every day what the raid would look like," Noa told the BBC. "They even had a model tank that they were practicing how to take over.”

"They also had a model of weapons on the fence and they would also show how they would blow it up, and co-ordinate how to take over the forces and kill and kidnap," she added.

Former observer Roni Lifshitz, who was still in service but not working when Hamas attacked, said the most concerning thing she saw in the weeks preceding the October 7 attack was the regular patrol of vehicles full of Hamas terrorists, which would stop at watch posts on the other side of the fence.

She said the remembers the men "talking, pointing at the cameras and the fence, taking pictures".

Lifshitz told the BBC she was able to identify the terrorists as being from Hamas' elite Nukhba Force because of their clothing.

The lookouts said that, in the months before the attack, they saw Gazan farmers, bird catchers and sheep herders moving closer to the border fence. The lookouts believe they were collecting intelligence ahead of the attacks.

A former commander at one of the border units told the BBC, "The problem is that the military didn't connect the dots."