Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Hamas terrorists train in Khan Younis, August 8, 2023.

According to the LOTAR counter-terrorism special force, Hamas’s goals on Shabbat Simchat Torah were much broader and included attacking other parts of the south and reaching the cities of Israel’s center. The unit just completed an internal report on the events of October 7, revealing shocking new details about the campaign. Some of the new report was published by Ynet on Sunday.

Preliminary investigations indicate that at points such as the IDF outpost near Nahal Oz, the force of 40-50 terrorists did not wait until they widened the opening in the fence and let vehicles in, but simply crossed and started running. The terrorists conducted a short battle with the guards at the gate, killed them, entered, and soon destroyed a large part of the outpost and its equipment. The soldiers of the outpost were surprised, and most of them were killed on the spot. Some soldiers managed to slip into Kibbutz Nahal Oz and began to fight there against the terrorists who attacked the kibbutz and its residents to kidnap some of them and kill the rest.


“The attack on 30 to 40 IDF points along the sector stunned the command, cut off some of its information transmission channels, and paralyzed its ability to defend itself and conduct the fighting,” a senior IDF officer familiar with the initial investigations told Ynet. “The concept of protecting the settlements surrounding Gaza was to establish outposts as close as possible to the settlements so that if one of them was attacked, the neighboring outpost could protect it. In some cases, it didn’t make sense to place posts so close to the fence. But if there was a settlement there, there was no choice but to establish an outpost.

“All of this did not make a difference once Hamas managed to paralyze most of the outposts and those who sat in them were killed, or engaged in fighting in an attempt to save themselves and their friends, or found a hiding place from the inferno. The central reserve of the force, which was supposed to protect the settlements in the event of an attack, was not in a position to do so. And since the attack was so broad, and with such large Hamas forces, dozens of points – settlements and army bases, were left without a nearby force able to come and help them, simply because all these forces were under attack themselves.”

A superficial comparison between events of a similar format such as the attack in Mumbai in 2008, in which large groups of armed terrorists acted against the civilian population, shows that the challenge faced by the counter-terrorism units in the Gaza Strip was immeasurably more complex and dangerous.

There was an extreme lack of symmetry in the firing limits of each of the sides. The terrorists were not limited by rules of engagement and fired wild and deadly fire in all directions, fully understanding that everyone around them was a legitimate target. The special units, on the other hand, had to selectively locate the terrorists and use calculated and accurate fire against them as much as possible to avoid hitting civilians and friendly security forces.

The terrorists had a clear tactical advantage in firepower since the special anti-terrorism forces mainly use pistols and assault rifles, and sometimes sniper rifles, while the terrorists were armed with assault rifles, mainly Kalashnikovs, with many cartridges, PK-M machine guns, and advanced anti-tank rockets, mainly RPG launcher with different types of warheads.

Hamas operatives pack a new kind of home-made RPG. / IRNA

On Saturday, IRNA reported that the Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades unveiled a new handmade rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) which became operational during the October 7 attack. It is called Al-Yassin, and it is an anti-tank RPG with a “huge destructive power.”

LOTAR Major Ansbacher told Ynet: “We learned that every Hamas unit that was involved in this operation had a specific goal and a very specific way to reach that goal. As far as the goal was concerned, they were very disciplined and efficient and carried out the task, but their performance also showed a lack of flexibility and adaptation to circumstances that they did not anticipate. As soon as the mission hit a snag, they quite quickly lost their way. The point is that they probably trained for a long time, and also benefited from very rich information which the devil knows how they gathered, and these usually allowed them to act according to the plan.”

I would start by investigating the Bedouins that roam the area between the Gaza Strip and Be’er Sheva. Seeing as they, too, have raided many an IDF base and escaped with bounties of arms and ammunition, they may have availed their knowledge to the brothers across the border fence.

Another takeaway: it’s good to know that Hamas doesn’t have one crucial skill Israelis possess in loads: the ability to improvise under pressure. It’s how they win wars that start with a huge advantage to the enemy.


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