The Israeli government had the blueprint for Hamas’ Oct. 7 rampage in its hands more than a year before the Palestinian terror group launched the attack that resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people and hundreds of others being taken hostage, according to a report by The New York Times.
Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the 40-page battle plan, codenamed “Jericho Wall,” because they deemed the operation too ambitious for Hamas to carry out, according to the report.
The document described how Hamas militants planned to break through the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, disable Israeli surveillance systems and overwhelm nearby towns, villages and key military bases.
“Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision,” The New York Times reported.
The Jericho Wall report did not include a date when the attack was expected.
The New York Times said details about the size and location of Israeli military forces near Gaza were included in the report along with communications hubs and other sensitive information, raising questions about whether Hamas managed to penetrate Israel’s security establishment.
An analyst with Unit 820, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, warned senior officials in July that Hamas had conducted a training exercise that appeared similar to the mission outlined in the Jericho Wall report. A colonel in the Israeli army’s Gaza Division waved off her concerns, The New York Times reported.
“It is a plan designed to start a war. It’s not just a raid on a village,” the analyst noted in an exchange of emails reviewed by The New York Times.
It was not clear if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other senior government officials had been aware of the Jericho Wall plan before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack from the Gaza Strip.
Senior military officials like Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, have conceded that they were caught unaware by the Hamas attack and said there would be an investigation into the military and intelligence failures. But that will happen after the war against Hamas is over, they said.
On Sunday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. intelligence community did not have access to the Jericho Wall document ahead of time.
He was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if the Hamas attack could also be considered a failure on the part of U.S. intelligence officials, who traditionally work closely with their Israeli counterparts.
“Intelligence is a mosaic. Something you can fashion things together and get a pretty good picture,” Mr. Kirby said. “Other times, there are pieces of the puzzle that are missing.”