“We know that Egypt had warned the Israelis three days earlier that such an event could happen.” With these words, the Republican deputy who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House, Michael McCaul reopened the questions about the incredible intelligence hole regarding the massive attack with which Hamas took Israel by surprise on Saturday (ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR, ALL THE LIVE UPDATES).
Netanyahu: “Totally false news”
The Israeli Prime Minister himself, Benyamin Netanyahu, in recent days branded as “fake, totally false news” the indiscretion according to which the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamal had warned him 10 days before a Hamas operation against Israel. And even in the last few hours the Egyptian news site Ahram reported high-level Cairo sources who denied “reports according to which the Egyptian authorities had issued a preventive warning to Israel”.
The attack has been planned for a year for the USA
The fact is that in Washington McCaul, speaking to journalists after participating in an intelligence briefing on the crisis, specified that the attack may have been planned for a year, and “it is not clear how we missed it”. Above all, he added, “it is not clear how it escaped Israel.” “I don’t want to go into too much detail, which is classified, but a warning had been given, the question is at what level.” Further indications that go in the same direction emerge from two informed, but not better specified, sources cited by Financial Times, according to which Egyptian intelligence actually and repeatedly told Israel that the situation in the Gaza Strip could “explode.” According to the same sources, however, these warnings were not based on so-called ‘hard intelligence’, i.e. concrete data relating to a specific attack: Egypt nevertheless expressed concern that “the situation could explode due to the political and humanitarian context in Gaza” , one of the two sources underlined, while the other spoke of a “general warning”.
Egypt’s mediating role
A possible role for Egypt certainly would not be surprising, as it has had historically, from the first Arab country to sign peace with Israel in 1979 up to the most recent mediations between Hamas and the Jewish state. These are elements that make an intelligence sharing channel more than plausible: what remains unclear is why this was not used; or if activated, as some of the rumors indicate, why it remained unheard.