Gaza militants launched a surprise attack on Israel Saturday that was a Jewish holiday. As Israel faltered from the deadly attack by Hamas militants who got through obstructions around Gaza and wandered, killing scores of civilians in Israeli towns, military bosses confronted questions over how the attack could have occurred.
It appeared as if the Israeli forces were caught off guard by the sudden attack a day after the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
Retired General Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council said during a briefing with reporters, “it looks quite similar to what happened at that time. As we can see it, Israel was completely surprised, by a very well-coordinated attack.”
An army spokesperson said there would be discussions on the intelligence preparation not too far off however for the moment, the emphasis was on the conflict. He told reporters, “We’ll talk about that when we need to talk about it.
Israel has consistently viewed Hamas as its enemy, however since causing harm to Gaza in a 10-day battle in 2021, Israel had taken on a blend of incentives to keep up stability in the barricaded territory.
It offered monetary incentives including huge number of work permits to Gazans to work in Israel or the occupied West Bank, while keeping a tight barricade and the steady danger of air strikes.
For the past year and a half, as violence has seethed across the West Bank, Gaza had been generally calm, aside from irregular cross boundary conflicts mostly including the more modest Islamic Jihad movement with Hamas largely remaining uninvolved.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has consistently made incredible play of its security credentials and taken an uncompromising stance towards the Palestinian militant groups including Hamas, which has controlled Gaza starting around 2007.
When the time arrived, however, Israel’s security device seemed to fail as a power of Hamas gunmen estimated to be in the hundreds by the military got through security fences and dispersed into towns.
“This was an intelligence failure; it could not be otherwise. It was a security failure, undermining what was thought to be an aggressive and successful layered approach toward Gaza by Israel,” said Jonathan Panikoff, the U.S. government’s former deputy national intelligence officer on the Middle East.
For Israelis, pictures of dead bodies lying in the roads or groups of civilians being driven or being marched into imprisonment in Gaza came as a significant shock.
More than 300 Israelis were killed and over 1,500 injured, a phenomenal number of Israeli casualties in a day. The military experienced significant losses and Palestinian militant groups said they had captured many soldiers.
The gunmen likewise captured security posts including a police headquarters for the southern town of Sderot and overran the Erez crossing, a high security office that channels individuals entering and leaving Gaza through a tight series of controls.
However, Israel’s southern district police forces and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Sunday secured control of Sderot police station, a southern district police spokesperson revealed. The IDF have reportedly planned an aggressive response against Hamas.
On Saturday, Hamas media circulated footage showing fighters going through deserted workplaces and running past the high concrete walls of the site.
“They’ve been planning this for a long time,” said former Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata. “Obviously this is a very coordinated attack, and unfortunately they were able to surprise us tactically and cause devastating damage.”