February 22, 2024

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) in Unit 8200 of the IDF Intelligence Directorate warned in July that Hamas was conducting large-scale exercises in preparation to invade kibbutzim, but her warnings were dismissed as an “imaginary scenario,” N12 reported on Monday.

In an email on July 6 titled “Death in the Kibbutz at all Costs,” the NCO warned that “at the end of May there was an insane exercise of two companies of [Hamas’s] Nukhba forces in the presence of a number of senior Hamas members.”

The NCO added that the exercise was “long and exhausting,” including large numbers of forces in vehicles, including jeeps and motorcycles. The terrorists also drilled downing aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters.

In the email, the NCO stressed that the central goal drilled in the exercise was to take over a mock kibbutz set up for the drill, with the terrorists even practicing waving flags on top of the synagogue and the secretariat of the mock kibbutz. The terrorists also drilled taking over an IDF training base with terrorists instructed to kill all personnel in the base in the drill.

One of the NCO’s colleagues responded by calling her report “golden intelligence,” according to N12.

Palestinian terrorists conduct joint exercise in Gaza Strip. September 12, 2023 (credit: Joint Operations Room of Palestinian Factions)

Three days after the first email, another NCO in Unit 8200 reported additional exercises by other Hamas brigades, with each brigade drilling an attack on a separate target.

After the report of the additional exercises, the first NCO sent an additional email, writing “a cute little addition – during training, the following conversation took place: ‘How are you and what is your state of readiness? Waiting for instructions from you so that we can enter their gate. We are fully prepared, waiting for instructions from you.'”

A day later, a senior intelligence officer responded to the emails, praising the NCOs for their work, but adding, “The scenario of the exercise described according to what the NCO wrote at the beginning is completely imaginary. And we need to see where we filter between what is intended for the purpose of ‘posing’…and what is realistic.”

The NCO rejected the evaluation of the senior intelligence officer saying “I firmly reject the view that this is an imaginary scenario. It is hard for me to imagine that it was intended to practice an imaginary scenario and to raise morale, in my eyes this scenario is very probable – mainly because Hamas has the capabilities to carry it out,” according to N12.

A colleague of the NCO agreed, writing “I emphasize that we completely and emphatically disagree with the assumption that this is an imaginary scenario.”

Intelligence soldier warned Hamas could implement plan with no warning

The NCO warned as well that the drilled plan could be “an operative plan without a timetable for implementation,” meaning that intelligence efforts may not be able to give a warning before it is carried out.

The NCO stated, “This is a plan designed to start a war,” adding that some of the battle cries heard in the exercise were “Prepare to kill the Jewish pigs” and “prepare to go in and decapitate.”

“They are training, with large forces, for a big event. This is preparation for the real thing,” warned the NCO.

According to the report, the head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, Aharon Haliva, has denied having any knowledge about the emails in conversations with people close to him.

The warnings by the intelligence NCO were first reported a few days ago by N12. In that report, N12 added that a junior officer had also presented similar warnings concerning the Hamas drills.

According to the earlier report, the NCO managed to share her warnings with senior intelligence officials, including the commander of Unit 8200. The NCO and the junior officer also shared their concerns with a senior commander from another unit who told them “these are fantasies,” according to N12.

Senior defense officials dismissed alerts ahead of October 7 massacre

The dismissed warnings of the NCOs and officers join additional reported warnings and alerts that were issued and ignored in the IDF and other arms of the defense establishment in the months leading up to the October 7 massacre.

In recent weeks, multiple reports have been published in Israeli media detailing how IDF lookouts operating along the Gaza border repeatedly warned their commanders that they had seen unusual activity near the border and that Hamas appeared to be planning a large attack.

The lookouts’ concerns were dismissed and, according to N12, in at least one instance one of the lookouts went to a senior commander and was told “I don’t want to hear again about this nonsense. If you all bother us again with these things, you’ll be court-martialed.”