Israeli army intelligence chief resigns over failure to stop October 7 attack

Maj Gen Aharon Haliva is the first senior Israeli official to step down since the attack

Major General Aharon Haliva. Photo: Israel army
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The head of Israel’s military intelligence resigned on Monday over the security failures that led to the October 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas.

Maj Gen Aharon Haliva is the first senior Israeli figure to step down since the attack that killed 1,200 people in southern Israel and saw about 240 taken hostage. The attack sparked Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Maj Gen Haliva said shortly after the attack that he shouldered the blame for not preventing the assault.

“The head of the Intelligence Division, Maj Gen Aharon Haliva, in co-ordination with the Chief of Staff, requested to end his position following his command responsibility as head of the National Security Agency in the events of October 7,” the army said in a post on X.

“The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with,” Maj Gen Haliva said.

“I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the pain with me forever.”

He will remain in his post until a replacement is appointed and said he will “do everything to defeat Hamas” until then.

Observers at a border post that was struck during the attack by Hamas had reported “unusual movements” and training activities for more than a year before it took place, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in November.

Maj Gen Haliva's resignation could set the stage for more Israeli security officials to step down from office.

Israel's opposition leader, Yair Lapid, repeated his call for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after Mr Haliva stepped down.

Mr Lapid said Maj Gen Haliva’s resignation was “justified and honourable”.

“It would have been appropriate for Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the same,” he said.

It came on the 199th day of Israel's war in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,100 Palestinians. The majority of casualties are children and women, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

Mr Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would step up its military operations to force Hamas to release the 130 hostages still being held in Gaza, some of whom are believed to have died.

“In the coming days, we will increase the military and political pressure on Hamas because this is the only way to free our hostages,” Mr Netanyahu said on Sunday, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Tuesday.

He threatened to “deliver additional and painful blows”.

On Sunday, Israeli military spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said that “the chief of staff has approved the next steps for the war”, without giving details.

“On Passover, it will be 200 days of captivity for the hostages … we will fight until you return home to us,” he said.

Israel threatens to increase pressure on Gaza in coming days

Israel threatens to increase pressure on Gaza in coming days

Israel has withdrawn all but one battalion from Gaza while continuing to carry out aerial and artillery bombardments on the coastal enclave.

Air strikes on Sunday killed at least 24 people, including a man, his pregnant wife and their three-year-old child in Rafah. The unborn child survived after being delivered by Caesarean section, according to the Kuwaiti Hospital.

Another strike in Rafah killed 17 children and two women from an extended family.

Gaza's southernmost city is now home to about 1.5 million people after its population swelled after people fled to the city after being displaced.

Israel says it will launch a ground offensive in Rafah in pursuit of battalions of Hamas fighters, despite concerns about the civilian toll expressed by the US and other allies.

On Monday, the World Food Programme said it delivered fuel and wheat flour to bakeries in northern Gaza.

The delivery was made so the bakeries “can begin production again after 170 days of being inoperable. Four bakeries are now up and running and WFP is urgently working to deliver more supplies,” WFP said on X.

Northern Gaza was the most severely affected by a food shortage across the enclave as Israel imposed strict controls on the entry of humanitarian aid through two land crossings in the south.

Several countries in the region, along with the US and European nations, began delivering food through air operations amid reports of deaths from malnutrition in Gaza. The crisis appears to have eased after Israel, under pressure from the US and other allies, arranged the transport of aid from the south and open land crossings in the north.

With reporting from agencies.

Updated: April 22, 2024, 5:20 PM