A Texas Congressman and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Wednesday that Egypt had warned Israel of Hamas’ surprise attack in the weeks leading up to the assault that has killed at least 1,200.
Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican, spoke Wednesday, confirming what Egyptian intelligence has previously said and contradicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
‘There seems to have been an intelligence failure. We’re not quite sure how we missed it. We’re not quite sure how Israel missed it,’ McCaul said.
He had just gotten a closed-door briefing from Biden administration officials for an update on the crisis.
‘We know Egypt had warned the Israelis three days prior that an event like this could happen. We know this has been planned perhaps as long as a year ago,’ McCaul added.
Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican, spoke Wednesday, confirming what Egyptian intelligence has previously said and contradicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu’s office called reports that the Egyptians had warned them ‘fake news’ in a tweet sent out Monday.
‘The report to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a message in advance from Egypt is absolutely false,’ the PM’s office account posted.
‘No message in advance has arrived from Egypt and the Prime Minister has neither spoken, nor met, with the head of Egyptian intelligence since the formation of the government, neither directly nor indirectly. This is totally fake news,’ they added.
McCaul, when asked whom he’d been hearing from, said that the intelligence was out there.
‘I don’t want to get too into classifieds but a warning was given, I think the question is at what level’
In the wake of the attacks, allies who share intelligence with Israel said security agencies were misreading reality.
He said Israeli officials were focused on the West Bank and played down the threat from Gaza.
Netanyahu’s office called reports that the Egyptians had warned them ‘fake news’ in a tweet sent out Monday
McCaul, when asked whom he’d been hearing from, said that the intelligence was out there
Netanyahu’s government is made up of supporters of Jewish West Bank settlers who have demanded a security crackdown in the face of a rising tide of violence there over the last 18 months.
‘We have warned them an explosion of the situation is coming, and very soon, and it would be big. But they underestimated such warnings,’ said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the content of sensitive intelligence discussions with the media.
Israel´s intelligence agencies have gained an aura of invincibility over the decades because of a string of achievements.
The state has foiled plots seeded in the West Bank, allegedly hunted down Hamas operatives in Dubai and has been accused of killing Iranian nuclear scientists in the heart of Iran.
Even when their efforts have stumbled, agencies like the Mossad, Shin Bet and military intelligence have maintained their mystique.
But the weekend´s assault, which caught Israel off guard on a major Jewish holiday, plunges that reputation into doubt and raises questions about the country´s readiness in the face of a weaker but determined foe.
Over 48 hours later, Hamas militants continued to battle Israeli forces inside Israeli territory, and dozens of Israelis were in Hamas captivity in Gaza.
‘This is a major failure,’ said Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘This operation actually proves that the (intelligence) abilities in Gaza were no good.’
Amidror declined to offer an explanation for the failure, saying lessons must be learned when the dust settles.
Joe Biden on Wednesday said he had seen photos from Israel this weekend of ‘terrorists beheading children’ – confirming Israeli soldiers’ stories of almost unimaginable horror, and insisting that the U.S. was working feverishly to rescue the hostages.
At least 1,200 Israelis were killed in Saturday’s carnage, which begun when Hamas militants crossed from Gaza into Israel and murdered people at a music festival and in their homes near the border.
‘This attack was a campaign of pure cruelty, not just hate, but pure cruelty, against the Jewish people,’ Biden said.
He added: ‘I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.’
And he warned Iran, which acts as Hamas’ patron, not to get involved.
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