According to the Washington Post, which cites security and intelligence officials, the militants wanted to reach the West Bank
Hamas didn’t just want to ”kill as many Israelis as possible” and ”take as many hostages” as it could in the attack launched last October 7 against Israel. What he actually wanted, as the Washington Post states, citing analysts, was trigger a regional war, a broader and deeper conflict. Evidence was pointed to by dozens of Western and Middle Eastern security and intelligence officials that Hamas wanted to deal a blow of historic proportions resulting in a massive Israeli response. And they wanted to reach the West Bank, thus also inflicting a heavy blow on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
The latest intelligence findings also shed light the tactics and methods used by Hamas to breach Israeli intelligence and thwart the IDF’s initial efforts to stop the attack. After breaching the Israeli barrier in around thirty places, Hamas militants organized the massacre of civilians in around thirty places including villages, cities and military outposts. New evidence shows they were ready to go further. Some militants, officials said, had with them several days’ worth of food, ammunition and equipment, as well as instructions to go deeper into Israel if the first attacks were successful, also hitting larger cities.
Hamas strike teams managed to penetrate as far as Ofakim, about halfway between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. According to two senior Middle Eastern intelligence officials and a former US official, some Hamas militiamen had with them reconnaissance information and maps that suggested the intention to continue the assault up to the border with the West Bank. The former American official quoted on condition of anonymity by the Washington Post underlines that “if this had happened, it would have been a huge propaganda victory, a symbolic blow not only against Israel, but also against the Palestinian Authority” of Mahmoud Abbas.
Even if the current Hamas leadership were effectively destroyed by Israel, said Rita Katz, executive director of the Site Intelligence Group, Hamas and its followers will continue to view October 7 as a victory. This is partly because Hamas has undoubtedly succeeded in focusing the world’s attention on the Palestinian conflict. ”This is the first time, as long as I can remember, that Hamas has become so important on a global scale,” Katz said. Many people have already forgotten October 7 because Hamas it immediately changed the discussion. He focused attention on Israel, not on themselves. And that’s exactly what they wanted.”