One Key to Hamas Attack: a Mock Israeli Settlement

Militants pulled off a 2-year campaign of deception, reports Reuters
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2023 11:04 AM CDT
Hamas Built Mock Israeli Settlement for Training
Israeli soldiers and a civilian take cover in southern Israel as a siren warns of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday.   (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Two days after the stunning Hamas attack on Israel, the question remains: How did Israeli's vaunted intelligence agency fail to see this coming? A story at Reuters provides one of the best explanations so far, with details from Hamas insiders familiar with the planning. For two years, Hamas leaders duped Israel into thinking it was weary of war and not looking for a fight, according to the story. Privately, however, the militant group trained its fighters all the while for the coordinated assault that took place over the weekend. Perhaps the most remarkable detail: "Hamas constructed a mock Israeli settlement in Gaza where they practiced a military landing and trained to storm it," the report says. They even made videos of these training raids.

"Israel surely saw them, but they were convinced that Hamas wasn't keen on getting into a confrontation," says one of the outlet's sources. In short, Hamas left the impression it was content living with the conditions imposed by Israel on Gaza, which included permits to let residents work in Israel or the West Bank. "This is a major failure," says Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, per the AP. "This operation actually proves that the [intelligence] abilities in Gaza were no good." One relatively simple way Hamas leaders kept their plans secret was by eschewing modern tech, says retired US Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton, per Insider.

"What Hamas did, what their leadership did, was apparently they moved off of the normal modern communications links that we take for granted every day and went back to what you did in the 19th century: face-to-face meetings, they went and used couriers instead of going in and using the telephone or the cellphone," he told CNN. As for the military plan itself, it involved an initial rocket barrage, accompanied by fighters on hang gliders who helped clear the way for commando units to breach the fortified wall that separates Gaza from Israeli settlements, per Reuters. Bulldozers then widened the breaches, allowing more fighters to enter in trucks. The last part of the plan involved moving hostages from Israel back into Gaza. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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