Israel was aware of Hamas' plan three weeks before the 7 October attack

Public media Kan revealed that Israeli intelligence learned less than three weeks before the 7 October attack that Hamas was planning an attack aimed at capturing "200 to 250 hostages".

Less than three weeks before the deadly attack on 7 October 2023 in which nearly 1,200 people were killed, Israel's public broadcaster Kan reported that military intelligence was aware of a Hamas plan to take several hundred hostages in Israel.

According to the report, Unit 8200, the unit responsible for interception activities, prepared a report on 19 September detailing the training of Hamas elite units to raid military positions and kibbutzes in the south of the country.

The media outlet said that intelligence officials within the Southern Military Command responsible for the Gaza Strip were aware of the report, citing unnamed security officials.

The memo from Unit 8200 states that Hamas fighters' training includes attacking military bases and "transferring captured soldiers to company commanders". The memo describes a series of exercises carried out by the Islamist group's elite forces, including mock raids on Israeli towns and border crossings, as well as training on how to take civilians and soldiers hostage and hold them captive. The targets of the attackers are also detailed: synagogues, outposts or soldiers' residences.

The document states that Islamist Hamas aimed for "200 to 250 hostages". On 7 October, Hamas finally kidnapped 251 people. According to the Israeli military, 116 of them are still being held in the Gaza Strip and 41 are dead. On Monday, a senior official involved in negotiations with Hamas said "with certainty" that dozens of hostages are still alive in the Palestinian territory. The official added that Israel would not stop its attacks until all hostages were released under an agreement. According to the latest figures from the Hamas Health Ministry, the war has claimed 37,396 lives and injured 85,523 people, mostly civilians, in less than nine months.

The Israeli military had previously been accused of receiving advance warning that Hamas was planning an attack on its territory. In November, the New York Times revealed that Israeli officials had obtained a document detailing the Islamist movement's plan more than a year before the attack. However, the officials allegedly decided that the scenario was "too ambitious" for Hamas' capabilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to set up a formal commission of inquiry into 7 October before the current war in Gaza ends.