Hamas began planning Saturday’s terrorist attacks across Israel two years ago, according to an interview Sunday by a senior Hamas official.
Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka told Russia Today on Sunday (via the Middle East Media Research Institute) that Hamas had been secretly planning the invasion of southern Israel for two years — which would mean after President Joe Biden took office, and after the disastrous, deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“We have been preparing for this for two years. We have local factories for everything. We have rockets with ranges of 250 kms, 160 kms, 80 kms, 45 kms, and 10 kms,” he said in an October 8, 2023, Russia Today interview.
“We have factories for mortars and their shells. We have factories for manufacturing B-7 and B-10 guns and their shells. We have factories for manufacturing Kalashnikov rifles and their bullets. We have a Russian license to produce Kalashnikov bullets in Gaza,” he added.
Baraka said Hamas was assisted by Iran — a claim for which the Biden administration it lacks direct evidence.
“Our allies are those that support us with weapons and money. First and foremost it is Iran that is giving us money and weapons. There is also Hizbullah, and the Arab and Islamic people who are standing by us,” he said.
Baraka also indicated Hamas wanted to carry out a prisoner swap with the U.S., as the Biden administration recently did with Iran — releasing $6 billion and five Iranians held in the U.S. in exchange for five Americans being held in Iran.
“There are also prisoners in the U.S. We want them. Of course. There are Hamas members sentenced for life in the U.S. We want them too. Of course. We demand that the U.S. free our sons from prisons. The U.S. conducts prisoner swaps. Only recently, it did one with Iran. Why wouldn’t it conduct a prisoner swap with us? After all, it is participating in this war,” Baraka said.
“Biden, the highest authority in the U.S., declared that he stands with Israel against Hamas and the Palestinian people. Therefore, he is a partner to this aggression, he must pay the price,” he said.
He bragged that only a limited number of Hamas leaders knew about the coming attack and that the group intentionally projected a “rational” image to world to hide its plans.
“We made them think that Hamas was busy with governing Gaza, and that it wanted to focus on the 2.5 million Palestinians [in Gaza], and has abandoned the resistance altogether,” he said. “All the while, under the table, Hamas was preparing for this big attack.”
“The zero hour was kept completely secret,” he said, adding, “The number of people who knew about the attack and its timing could be counted on one hand.”
Baraka expressed surprise in a separate interview at how the terrorist group was able to kidnap and slaughter so many, telling the Associated Press, “We were surprised by this great collapse.”
“We were planning to make some gains and take prisoners to exchange them. This army was a paper tiger,” he said.
A source told Al-Monitor that the original plan had been to “kill some Israelis, embarrass the IDF and return to Gaza with two or three kidnapped Israelis.”
“Instead, they roamed inside Israel for more than a day, killing over a thousand Israelis and getting stuck with something like 200 abductees,” the source told the outlet. “Their success surprised them, too.”
As Breitbart News also reported:
A manual reportedly used by Palestinian Hamas terrorists has been discovered by first responders in a Toyota pickup truck used in Saturday’s attack on Israel.
Dating to October 2022, the “operational document” includes plans for a raid on Israeli towns near Gaza, including details about breaching the border fence, and about expected Israeli defenses. The plan also called for taking “prisoner soldiers, residents, and … hostages for negotiations.” The plan was circulated Thursday by “South First Responders” on Telegram.
Asked whether this was a “massive intelligence failure,” and if so, who bore responsibility, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Thursday said now was not the time to assign blame.
“There’s going to come a time when it’s appropriate for us to take a look back retrospectively and see what the intel picture showed us or didn’t show us, whether there’s any gaps that need to be closed. There’s going to be a time for that, and I suspect that our Israeli counterparts will do the same thing. Now is not that time. It’s just not that time,” he said.