Hamas fighters, who poured into southern Israel last weekend in a massive surprise attack, had detailed maps of their targets and other materials aiding their goals. The Wall Street Journal analyzed samples of the printed documents on Thursday.
The maps, operational plans and instructions on how to engage the Israeli military were reportedly recovered from the bodies of killed Hamas militants. They indicate the sophistication of the preparation of the raids as well as confirm that the plans included targeting civilians, the newspaper said.
One set of documents included Hamas intelligence on Mefalsim, a kibbutz (Jewish communal settlement). It included aerial pictures, noted that the community only had a volunteer defense force, and warned that Israeli troops could arrive within minutes.
The battle order allocated two squads of five men and one commander to storm Mefalsim and take hostages. Israeli guards fended off the militants there, but raids on other similar settlements were successful for the attackers.
Some of the documents included photos of tanks and armored vehicles used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and tips on how they can be defeated. The WSJ suggested that the manuals indicated that Hamas fighters did not have personal experience in such engagements, and that its leadership expected more serious resistance than they encountered.
A Hamas representative claimed on social media on Thursday that the operation had been planned since 2021 and that the results were better than what the organization had aimed for. Some 1,300 Israelis have been killed and at least 3,000 have been injured since the beginning of last week’s incursion.