As the conflict escalates after Hamas militant’s surprise incursion in the South Israel settlements and Israel declares “war” against Hamas, the worrisome world leaders hurriedly make an effort to de-escalate to protect lives in the war zone.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed had phone calls with the King of Jordan, Presidents of Egypt, Syria, and Israel and the Prime Ministers of Canada discussing the need to de-escalate and exercise maximum restraint to protect the lives of civilians.
Abu Dhabi has recently established diplomatic ties with Israel, has expressed sincere condolences to all the victims of the recent crisis and invoked an immediate ceasefire to avoid serious repercussions.
The Gulf nation UAE, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, urges the international community to immediately reactivate the international Quartet to revive the path process of Arab-Israeli peace and increase all efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and prevent the region from experiencing further violence, tension, and instability.
The deadly assault came on Simchat Torah, a normally joyous day when Jews complete the annual cycle of reading the Torah scroll. In addition, many people returned home to spend Shabbat with their families on Saturday, 7th October.
Hamas on a weekend launched a highly-coordinated surprise multiple attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, land, air and sea. The blitzkrieg operation began with pounding barrage of home-made rockets and Jihadist combatants penetrated Israel at multiple locations infiltrating through the barrier separating the two, using para-gliders and motorboats to reach interior areas.
During the rampage by Hamas militants, the gunmen opened fire on a crowd of thousands of young people attending a dance and Sukot music festival in the southern Israeli Kibbutz near the Gaza Strip.
Simultaneously thousands of locally produced Quasem rockets were fired followed by militants bursting automatic weapons into the crowd as hundreds tried to flee, which turned into a scene of massacre.
Videos showed Israelis racing across vast open fields and taking cover in orchards. The number of fatalities and injuries from the massacre is unclear.
Hamas operation was named, “Al-Aqsa Storm” Hamas military commander Muhammad Al-Deif claimed that the group had “targeted the enemy positions, airports and military positions with 5,000 rockets” and that the assault was a response to attacks on women, the desecration of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the ongoing siege of Gaza.
Israel has long prided itself on its ability to infiltrate and monitor Islamist groups. As a consequence, a crucial part of the plan of Hamas was to avoid leaks.
As the Jewish nation reels, it must be admitted that the radicalised Islamist group Hamas surprise attack was indeed a ‘historic failure’ for Israeli intelligence services.
Multiple failures occurred before Hamas’s unprecedented assault, Peter Lerner, a former Lieutenant Colonel, and former Israel Defence Force (IDF) spokesperson told Euronews.
This is not the first, the Yom Kippur war – when Israel was blindsided by a lack of intelligence ahead of a 1973 attack from Egyptian and Syrian-lead forces – was a psychologically significant date to launch another major salvo in this decades-long conflict.
IDF’s “overconfidence” in the military’s defence mechanisms like the barrier around Gaza, and the Iron Dome missile defence shield which was overwhelmed by thousands of Hamas rockets and proved fallible.
In IDF’s military training course, the officers are reminded of bloody Yom Kippur as a teaching point to take warnings seriously, underscoring how intelligence is supposed to influence actions on the ground.
Israel arguably has the most sophisticated human intelligence and electronic intelligence gathering networks in the region, but the IDF’s HQ in Kirya, Tel Aviv failed to see it coming.
The ‘storm’ campaign was meticulously designed to ensure Israel was caught off guard. Hamas has planned the lighting strike for less than a year without the knowledge of top Hamas officials.
With a thousand Hamas foot soldiers deployed in the assault had no inkling of the exact purpose of the exercises. The fighters in a mock Israeli settlement in Gaza where secretly practised a military landing and trained to storm it and they even made videos of the manoeuvres.
Israel intelligence hawks have seen the video but they were convinced that Hamas wasn’t keen on getting into a major conflict.
Hundreds of migrant labourers from Gaza crossed the border for work in construction, agriculture or service jobs which had lucrative paychecks.
Since the 11-day war in 2021 with Hamas, Israel has sought to provide a basic level of economic stability in Gaza by offering incentives including thousands of permits so Gazans can work in Israel or the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Hamas sought to convince Israel it cared more about ensuring that workers in Gaza, a narrow strip of land with more than two million residents, had access to jobs across the border and had no interest in starting a new war.
The workers for months carefully took photographs with mobile phones and drew maps with hands of the settlements along the border of Gaza and Israel.
As part of its subterfuge in the past two years, Hamas refrained from military operations against Israel, even as another Gaza-based Islamist armed group known as Islamic Jihad launched a series of its own assaults or rocket attacks, reports Reuters news agency.
When the day came, the operation was divided into four parts, the Hamas source said, describing the various elements.
The first move was a barrage of 3,000 rockets fired from Gaza that coincided with incursions by fighters who flew hang gliders, or motorised paragliders, over the border, several videos have confirmed the brazen attack.
Once the fighters on hang-gliders were on the ground, they secured the terrain so an elite commando unit could storm the fortified electronic and cement wall built by Israel to prevent infiltration.
The fighters used explosives to breach the barriers and then sped across on motorbikes. Bulldozers widened the gaps and more fighters entered in four-wheel drives, scenes that witnesses described.
The Islamist commandos attacked the Israeli border troops, and their jihadist commanders jammed the communications, preventing the beleaguered soldiers from calling IDF commanders.
The final part involved moving hostages to Gaza, mostly achieved early in the attack.
An unspecified number of hostages were abducted from Israel. Amid the elderly persons, young women and children’s presence in the crowded slums of Gaza is likely to be a deterrent to large-scale military action.