Hamas surprise attack will be remembered as Israeli intelligence failure for ages: Report

London (IANS) Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel, on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, will be “remembered as an intelligence failure for the ages”, a media report said.

In the space of several hours, dozens of Gaza militants broke through the border fence into southern Israel, surprising local military positions, The Guardian reported.

Gunmen kidnapped and murdered Israelis in the southern border communities, filming their assault as they advanced in numerous locations. In one instance, a Gaza television journalist delivered a stand-up report about one attack from inside Israel, an almost unthinkable moment.

While the images of several thousand rockets sectoring the sky has become familiar over the years during the periodic upticks in fighting around Gaza, the footage of Hamas assault teams moving through the streets in communities such as Sderot, blowing the gates of a kibbutz and firing on passing cars and pedestrians, showed scenes not witnessed by most Israelis, for whom short-lived attacks in cities have become a fact of life.

If it is surprising it is because Israel’s surveillance of Palestinian society is both highly sophisticated and highly invasive, with monitoring of Hamas’s activity in particular one of the most important tasks for the security establishment. Members of militant groups inside Israeli prisons have also historically been targeted for intelligence efforts, all of which makes Israel’s being unsighted on the planned Hamas attack all the more surprising, The Guardian reported.

Israel’s surveillance technology industry, as evidenced by the Pegasus spyware scandal, is among the most advanced in the world. Despite all of this, Hamas’ preparations were missed.

It is true that Hamas, while always determined and capable of long-term planning, has become much more skilful at adapting to the military challenges it faces, often expending large amounts of effort in its planning and in its identification of Israeli vulnerabilities, a fact very well-known to Israel’s defence forces, the report said.

Military analysts have already been quick to suggest that Hamas is likely to have employed significant deception as well as the shock of attacks from multiple domains – including rocket and infiltration – to create maximum chaos.

What is clear is that at several points in the build-up, potential preparations were missed: planning, stockpiling, but most crucially, in the immediate run-up to the Hamas offensive when its fighters were mustering and approaching border areas overseen by regular patrols, cameras, ground motion sensors and remote-controlled mini-cannon in places which in the past have proved effective against attempts to storm the border fence.

All of which suggests an operation which – like previous Hamas surprise infiltration attacks including those involving tunnels into Israel – required a huge amount of preparation, the UK-based daily reported.

Perhaps significant is the fact – as Israeli media has pointed out – that incidents involving Hamas in recent months were not identified by the Israeli defence forces and intelligence agencies as part of a build-up to war.

Even as firefights continued with Hamas infiltrators in Israeli communities in southern Israel, the Israeli media was asking the inevitable question: how this could have been allowed to happen on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, itself regarded as a colossal intelligence failure when Israel was attacked by an Arab coalition, the report said.

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