US intelligence was unaware of attack plan on Israel by Hamas, says White House

The New York Times reported last week that Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the October 7 attack more than a year before it happened

Palestinian citizens inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on their homes in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Getty
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US intelligence was unaware of any advance plan by Hamas for its brutal October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the conflict between Israel and Gaza, a senior White House official has said.

The New York Times reported last week that Israeli authorities had obtained such a document a year before the unprecedented assault on southern Israel which killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, occurred.

“Our intelligence community is taking a look into that,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. There were “no indications that we, the United States intelligence community, had any knowledge of that document beforehand or any visibility into it”, he added,

“Israel, they've already talked about this. Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that there's obviously been some failures in the intelligence world when it came to October 7. They're going to take a look at this."

An Israeli official told NBC News on Friday that analysts in the country's military alerted their superiors to Hamas’s “plan designed to start a war”.

But their superiors dismissed their concerns.

Mr Kirby also said the White House believes Israel is “making an effort” to minimise civilian deaths in Gaza, as international concern mounted over the numbers killed in the resumed war with Hamas.

According to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, about 15,500 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.

“We believe they [Israelis] have been receptive to our messages here of trying to minimalism civilian casualties,” said Mr Kirby, including by publishing online a map of places where Gazans could go to find safety.

“There's not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that … to telegraph their punches in that way. So they are making an effort.”

Mr Kirby’s comments came as Israel has resumed its intensive air and ground campaign following a week-long truce.

Updated: December 04, 2023, 3:43 AM