Israel’s military intelligence failed its “most important mission,” its head, Major General Aharon Haliva, said in a statement on Tuesday. The spy chief said that his agency failed to discover a threat posed by the Hamas militants and to warn the military in time to stop the attack more than a week ago.
“The beginning of the war is an intelligence failure,” the commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Division said. The general also said he bore “full responsibility for the failure” as the military intelligence head.
Haliva vowed to investigate the causes that led to that situation “in the most profound and poignant way” and draw relevant conclusions. He said this will be done at some point in the future, but the priority right now is to “fight back and win.”
His words came more than a week after Hamas launched thousands of rockets at Israeli territory and overran Israeli settlements near Gaza in a massive attack on October 7. The IDF failed to thwart the assault and was able to take back control of the areas invaded by Hamas only about a day after the initial attack. The assault, as well as the follow-up clashes between Hamas and the IDF, have so far taken the lives of more than 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians.
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On Monday, the head of Shin Bet – Israel’s domestic security service – also admitted his agency’s failures and took personal responsibility for the developments.
“Despite a series of actions we carried out, unfortunately on Saturday we were unable to generate a sufficient warning that would allow the attack to be thwarted,” the spy chief, Ronen Bar, said in a missive to the agency’s members.
According to Israeli media, Bar only expected a small-scale attack and ordered a small team of agents deployed to the Gaza border. At least ten Shin Bet members were killed in the Hamas assault on October 7, the media added.
Last week, the head of the IDF General Staff, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, said the military had breached their contract with the people of Israel by failing to protect them from the Hamas attack. “We did not handle it,” Halevi said, admitting that the Israeli forces “are currently at a dramatic low point.”
He also vowed to both investigate the causes of the IDF failures and “do everything to restore this contract, bring back security.”
Israel responded to the Hamas attack with a massive bombing campaign against Gaza, which has claimed more than 2,800 lives, according to the local health officials.