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Egypt intelligence official reveals Israel ignored repeated warnings of ‘something big’

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Cairo, Egypt – Mounting questions surround Israel’s intelligence capabilities as an Egyptian intelligence official has disclosed that Israel ignored repeated warnings about a significant threat from Gaza-based Hamas. The warnings included a direct notice from Egypt’s intelligence minister to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the Egyptian official, Egypt, which frequently mediates between Israel and Hamas, had engaged in multiple conversations with Israeli authorities about an impending threat labeled as “something big.” However, specific details about the nature of the threat were not provided.

The Egyptian official highlighted that Israeli officials appeared to concentrate their attention on the West Bank, downplaying the threat emanating from Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government comprises supporters of West Bank settlers who have been advocating for a heightened security presence in response to increasing violence over the past 18 months.

“We have warned them that an explosive situation is looming, and it would be significant. But they underestimated these warnings,” the anonymous official revealed to The Associated Press.

One of these warnings involved a phone call from Egypt’s Intelligence Minister General Abbas Kamel to Netanyahu just ten days before the massive attack. Kamel reportedly conveyed concerns that Gazans were planning “something unusual, a terrible operation.” Nevertheless, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a denial, calling the reports a “complete lie.”

While Israel maintains a vigilant watch on Gaza through surveillance drones, extensive security cameras, and military presence along the border, it was seemingly caught off guard by the unexpected Hamas assault during a major Jewish holiday. The attack breached Israeli border barriers and led to over 700 casualties and more than 2,000 injuries.

The incident raises doubts about Israel’s traditionally strong intelligence agencies, including the Mossad, Shin Bet, and military intelligence, which have a history of successful operations. However, this surprise attack by Hamas has raised questions about Israel’s readiness against a determined adversary.

Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, acknowledged the failure but refrained from providing an explanation, stating that lessons must be learned later.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesman, agreed that an investigation was necessary but emphasized that the priority was to address the ongoing conflict first.

While some suggest that factors such as increased violence in the West Bank and political instability within Israel may have shifted military resources and attention away from Gaza, the apparent intelligence failure remains a central point of concern.

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintained intelligence capabilities in the region. Despite its past successes, Hamas managed to keep its plans hidden from Israeli intelligence, executing a meticulously planned and coordinated attack that took Israel by surprise.

Amir Avivi, a retired Israeli general, pointed out that without a physical presence inside Gaza, Israel had increasingly relied on technological means for intelligence gathering. However, terrorists in Gaza found ways to evade technological surveillance, limiting Israel’s understanding of their intentions.

Israel’s security establishment had viewed Hamas as primarily interested in governing and improving Gaza’s economy, but Avivi and others argue that Hamas’s priority remains Israel’s destruction.

The recent attack by Hamas has left Israel grappling with both security concerns and internal political challenges, with Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan further dividing the nation’s security services.

As Israel continues to respond to the ongoing conflict, questions about its intelligence capabilities and readiness for future threats remain at the forefront of discussions.

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