CIA Warned Of Escalated Violence Against Israel Days Before Hamas Attack

(Footage by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The CIA produced analysis in late September and early October containing vague warnings of violence coming from Gaza but did not predict the large-scale attack on Israel that Hamas militants launched days later, The New York Times reported.

Analysts wrote the reports using intelligence collected by the CIA and partner agencies amid a recent wave of protests in Gaza that could turn violent, the NYT reported, citing officials familiar with the intelligence. But the CIA has not prioritized the Gaza Strip in years compared to other threats that were seen as larger or more acute, adding to the explanation of why U.S. and Israeli intelligence apparently failed to foresee the attack on Oct. 7.

The last time Gaza appeared in the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat report was 2013, according to the NYT. Hamas has not appeared since 2017. (RELATED: Biden Admin Shelled Out Thousands To Support Terror-Linked Palestinian Org Just Weeks Before Hamas Attack)

One report from Sept. 28 concluded there was a chance the Hamas, a terrorist organization that controls much of Gaza, would launch rockets into Israel over several days, the NYT reported. Another, dated Oct. 5 honed down the analysis.

The Oct. 5 product appeared in regular intelligence reports the CIA circulates among Congress and policymakers but did not reach senior officials, according to the NYT. It was not deemed urgent. The border between Israel and Gaza often becomes violent.

Many similar reports were compiled in the past year as the potential for Palestinian violence ebbed and flowed, the officials told the NYT. In the months before the reports were compiled, clashes involving Israeli forces and Palestinian militants had escalated.

Recent CIA reports emphasized deteriorating economic conditions in the Gaza Strip and growing frustrations over Israel’s restriction on border crossings could trigger assaults across the border into Israel, the NYT reported, citing the officials. Hamas said two of its fighters were killed in a skirmish with Israeli forces on Oct. 5.

The CIA and the White House declined to comment on the record to the NYT regarding classified documents.

None of the reports warned of ground and air intrusions into Israel, much less at the scale of Saturday’s incursion, according to the NYT. At least 1,500 Hamas militants and Palestinian supporters streamed into Israel with weapons, targeting civilians, after rocket attacks, according to the Israeli authorities and documentary evidence.

Neither U.S. nor Israeli intelligence appear to have anticipated the massive attacks. It is unclear how and why they missed or discounted possible evidence of preparation.

Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took up to 150 hostage.

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