PALESTINIAN workers repair a damaged water pipe following an Israeli air strike on the main road between Rafah and Khan Yunis, on Saturday.—AFP
PALESTINIAN workers repair a damaged water pipe following an Israeli air strike on the main road between Rafah and Khan Yunis, on Saturday.—AFP

WASHINGTON: The New York Times disclosed on Friday that Israel’s military had prior knowledge of a plan by Hamas to launch a raid on Israeli soil more than a year before the Oct 7 operation.

The report raises questions about intelligence-sharing and the handling of pre-emptive measures in the run-up to the deadly incident.

The revelation adds a new layer to an already complex situation as the international community failed to extend a temporary pause and the fighting resumed on Friday.

The New York Times reported that Israeli officials were in possession of a 40-page battle plan, code-named “Jericho Wall”, which detailed a hypothetical Hamas raid on southern Israeli communities.

US sends ‘bunker busters’ to Jewish state

It was unclear how the document was obtained by Israel, but the article said that it had been translated — indicating it may have been in Arabic and directly intercepted from Hamas.

The report noted that this was the latest in a series of signs that top Israeli commanders either ignored or played down warnings that Hamas was plotting the raid.

The conflict in Gaza has long been a focal point of international concern, with humanitarian organisations expressing concern about the impact on civilians caught in the crossfire.

The recent influx of advanced weaponry from the United States to Israel is likely to intensify the debate on the role of external actors in the perpetuation of regional conflicts.

As the situation continues to unfold, the international community remains vigilant, calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and urging all parties to give diplomacy a chance over military actions.

The repercussions of these recent revelations are expected to reverberate globally, sparking a renewed debate on arms exports, regional stability, and the elusive quest for lasting peace in the Middle East.

Bunker buster

Meanwhile, a report in the Wall Street Journal said Washington had transferred 100 BLU-109 bombs to Israel that are meant to penetrate hardened structures before exploding.

The bomb carries a warhead weighing more than 900 kilograms and has previously been used by the US in conflicts, including in Afghanistan. The ‘bunker buster’, known for its ability to penetrate fortified structures, will further strengthen Israel’s ability to strike targets from a distance.

But it’s not the only type of ammunition the US has provided to Israel for the relentless strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip. Since Oct 7, Washington has sent more than 15,000 bombs and 57,000 155mm artillery shells to Israel, primarily carried on C-17 military cargo planes, the WSJ report added.

Washington has also sent more than 5,000 unguided Mk82 bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 bombs, about 1,000 GBU-39 small-diameter bombs, and approximately 3,000 JDAMs, a guidance kit that turns unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions, the report added.

According to the WSJ, large US-made bombs have been used in some of the deadliest Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip, including a strike that levelled an apartment block in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing more than 100 people. Israel said the attack was justified as it killed a Hamas leader.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

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