On 7 October, Hamas shocked the world, when thousands of its militants invaded southern Israel, taking control of territory, massacring civilians and kidnapping hundreds.
The attack itself demonstrated an unusual level of complexity, with a first wave seeing drones taking out Israeli reconnaissance equipment and observation posts and cyber attacks creating distractions, opening a path for amassed militant incursions from the air, sea and ground.
Hamas had clearly prepared for this operation extensively. It knew precisely where to attack, and when, demonstrating enhanced sophistication.
This was Israel’s “9/11” moment – shaking the country to its core. The resulting Israeli air campaign against Gaza has been both tragically predictable and catastrophically destructive.
In nearly a month since the war erupted, 1,400 Israelis were killed, more than 8,000 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, and 116 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank.
Concern for regional escalation is palpable.
Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen have all engaged, launching suicide drones, cruise missiles, artillery rockets and mortars at American forces and other regional targets. And all of this despite Israel’s widely expected ground incursion not having yet begun.
In the wake of Hamas’ shocking assault on Israel, many questions have rightly been asked about why and how this was missed.
The subject of ‘intelligence failures’ has been widely debated, with a variety of theories shared – particularly Israel’s domestic political chaos and security fixation on rising threats from the West Bank. But beyond these, there lies one that is more troubling and harder to acknowledge: Hamas deceived everyone.