Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group, launched a devastating attack on Israel that caught the country off guard. This attack, the worst breach in Israel's defenses since 1973, was the result of careful planning and deception by Hamas. For two years, Hamas kept its military plans secret while giving Israel the impression that it did not want a fight. Israel believed it was containing a war-weary Hamas by providing economic incentives to Gazan workers, but in reality, Hamas was training and preparing for a massive operation.
Hamas used an unprecedented intelligence tactic to mislead Israel, creating a public impression that it was not interested in a confrontation. The group even constructed a mock Israeli settlement in Gaza where they trained and made videos of military maneuvers. Despite Israel's attempts to provide economic stability in Gaza, Hamas was focused on preparing for war rather than seeking peaceful solutions.
Israel acknowledges that it was caught off guard by the attack, which was timed to coincide with the Jewish Sabbath and a religious holiday. Hamas fighters stormed into Israeli towns, killing hundreds of Israelis and abducting dozens. In retaliation, Israel has killed more than 400 Palestinians in Gaza.
The restraint shown by Hamas in the past drew criticism from some supporters who wanted to see more military operations against Israel. However, Hamas used this restraint to build an image of economic concerns rather than a desire for war. Israel's security services were duped by Hamas, believing that the group was more interested in money than military operations.
Hamas's plan involved avoiding leaks and keeping many of its leaders unaware of the details. The operation was divided into four parts, which included firing thousands of rockets, infiltrating the border with hang gliders and motorized paragliders, breaching barriers with explosives and motorbikes, and attacking Israeli army headquarters.
Israel's intelligence system and military apparatus in the south have been criticized for their failure to anticipate and prevent the attack. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, but the attack has highlighted the need for improved intelligence and security measures.