New Delhi: A new report has revealed how Hamas planned and executed its surprise attack on Israel on October 7, which killed hundreds of Israelis and triggered a devastating war. According to The Guardian¹, the operation, named al-Aqsa Flood, was devised by a handful of Hamas leaders who kept it secret from even those who would carry it out until the morning of the attack.
The report said that the first order was issued before 4 a.m. on October 7, telling Hamas militants who were attending regular training sessions to go to offer prayers at different mosques than usual. An hour later, as the sky in Gaza began to light up and worshipers started leaving, new instructions were issued by word of mouth – bring your weapon and any ammunition you have and gather at designated sites.
The report said that the militants still did not know what was going to happen. They were given additional ammunition and more powerful weapons, such as hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, and explosives. It was now six in the morning, the sun had risen and the final orders were issued in writing.
The written orders described a precise plan drawn up by two individuals whom Israel believes were the main planners of the attack: Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ overall head in the enclave, and Mohammad Deif, commander of the Qassam Brigade and the elite Nukhba Squad. The plan involved breaching the security fence separating Gaza and Israel with bulldozers, motorcycles, a motorboat, and a powered parachute, and launching a massive barrage of rockets into southern Israel. The militants were also instructed to infiltrate and attack at least three Israeli military installations around the frontier – the Beit Hanoon border crossing (called Erez by Israel), the Zikim base, and the Gaza division headquarters at Reim.
The report said that the attack was the most ambitious operation launched by Hamas since the extremist organization took control of Gaza in 2007 and that it was inspired by the Yom Kippur War of 1973 when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise assault on Israel during a Jewish holiday. The attack caught Israel off guard and caused panic and chaos among the civilians and soldiers. Hamas claimed that it launched 5,000 rockets in the initial barrage, while Israel said that 2,500 rockets were fired. Israel responded with thousands of airstrikes on Gaza, killing thousands of people, including hundreds of children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The war has continued for a month, with no sign of a ceasefire.
The report said that the decision to verbally instruct thousands of Hamas militants spread across Gaza’s 2.3 million residents to circumvent one of the most powerful surveillance systems in the world and keep information about what was going to happen was a clear-cut move. It was the latest in a series of measures designed to avoid detection and interception by Israel, such as using underground tunnels, drones, balloons, and kites. The report also said that the attack exposed the limitations of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which was overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of the rockets and projectiles.