IDF to begin probe into response to October 7 massacres

The army was criticised for its slow response in the wake of surprise Hamas violence


Scenes of houses destroyed when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Kibbutz Be'eri, and 30 other nearby communities in Southern Israel on October 7, killing more than 1400 people, and taking more than 200 hostages into Gaza, near the Israeli-Gaza borderl. October 25, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90

(JNS) The Israel Defense Forces has announced it will start an internal investigation into the military's response to the October 7 Hamas massacre and the period preceding the cross-border invasion.

Army commanders will be leading the probe, including from the Gaza Division; Unit 8200, the Military Intelligence Directorate's main information-gathering unit; the Southern Command; and the Operations Directorate, responsible for preparing the IDF for war.

The investigation is expected to conclude towards May, after which external investigations will take place carried out by military inspection committees led by retired generals to get a fuller picture of the events leading up to, during and after October 7.

Dismissals and resignations may only be accepted after the internal IDF investigation finishes.

️"Soon we will begin the process of investigating the events of October 7th and what led to them, despite the fact that we are still at war. In the name of learning, we have the duty to investigate. This is a necessity and not a privilege. This is the only way we can understand how we could have acted and how we will act in the future to better protect the citizens of Israel," IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi wrote in letter to commanders.

"I trust the IDF's ability to conduct a true and thorough investigation. Work first to build a common factual basis for the investigation, and then move on to thinking and formulating the conclusions and lessons. We will carry out the investigations in light of five leading values: Truth, matter-of-factness, transparency, responsibility and deep friendship."

The news comes after a report published Tuesday in the London-based pan-Arab Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat alleged that Hamas planned to take over Ashkelon’s Shikma Prison and free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorism and security offenses.

According to the report, one of the first groups of terrorists that entered Israel at the Erez crossing headed towards the prison but deviated from the mission due to an "unknown technical reason" as the terrorist cell's guide for GPS and maps directed the group southward.

The squad of 23 Nukhba commandoes reached as far north as Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, engaging in a gun battle there and killing several people before apparently losing its way, heading west and then south to Moshav Netiv Ha’asara on the Gaza border, before going to the city of Sderot to murder people and battle Israeli security forces.

They were supposed to free the prisoners with the assistance of another terrorist squad assigned to conquer a military post in the Ashkelon region. The plan was to assault the prison by “attacking the main gate using explosive devices" to spark a riot that would lead to the liberating of the inmates.

Another cell that infiltrated Kibbutz Zikim was then ordered to reach the prison but was stopped by Israeli forces on the ground before being eliminated in airstrikes.

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