Last week, as Hamas militants breached Israel’s borders, they were found to be equipped with detailed maps pinpointing Israeli towns, military bases, and incursion routes, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Some of these fighters also carried tactical guides that identified vulnerabilities in Israeli army armored vehicles.
The recovered materials, found on the bodies of deceased fighters, clearly indicate that the intent was to target civilian areas. This sophisticated intelligence gathering demonstrated a high level of planning and coordination on the part of Hamas, unlike any previous actions they had undertaken.
Michael Milshtein, a former Israeli military intelligence officer and head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University, remarked on the precision of the operation: “They knew exactly what the targets were going to be.”
One particularly concerning “top secret” document, written in Arabic like all the other materials, outlined a plan to infiltrate a small kibbutz near Gaza, with the intention of taking residents hostage for negotiation purposes. The plan included detailed maps and aerial photos of the area and emphasized the need to prepare for a rapid response from Israeli forces within three minutes.
Eyal Pinko, a former security services officer, pointed out that the Hamas plan for Mefalsim displayed a high degree of sophistication, incorporating systematic intelligence collection, human sources, open intelligence, and information obtained through cyberattacks.
Despite the attack on the kibbutz, named Mefalsim, the quick action of a volunteer security force successfully repelled the invasion, and no injuries were reported. Nevertheless, the level of planning and sophistication exhibited by Hamas was a matter of concern.
A map for another community revealed chilling details, including the locations of likely crowds, a synagogue, and a kindergarten.
Israeli security authorities are currently analyzing the seized documents to gain further insights into Hamas’s plans.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Obaida stated that planning for the attack that took place on Saturday had commenced in 2021. The outcome of the operation exceeded their expectations, he mentioned.
As of Thursday morning, the conflict had resulted in a tragic toll, with at least 1,300 people killed in Israel and at least 1,354 casualties in retaliatory strikes on Gaza. Among the victims, at least 27 were American citizens, and 14 U.S. citizens remained unaccounted for, as reported by the White House.