New details revealed behind Operation Al-Aqsa Flood

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GAZA – On Wednesday, sources close to Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, revealed new details about Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7, 2023, Al-Ghad reported.اضافة اعلان

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arab newspaper based in London, that the operation began with only 70 fighters launching a surprise attack from several areas along the border of Gaza. These are the first fighters who crossed the Israel-Gaza border by detonating explosive devices specially prepared to create holes in the thick wall. They also crossed the wall by using gliders and parachutes that dropped fighters around Israeli sites. These fighters were selected from various areas of Gaza, among hundreds of members of the “elite unit.” They received intensive training for years and were tested periodically to determine their abilities and develop their combat skills.

According to the sources, the plan to invade the settlements was not new but had been considered and prepared for before the 2014 war. When that war broke out, Hamas froze the plan.

As soon as the Sword of Jerusalem Battle broke out in 2021, Al-Qassam Brigades decided to prepare for and execute Operation Al-Aqsa Flood when the circumstances were right.

Shortly after, the brigades started training their soldiers for unknown reasons at the time. Then, the most distinguished fighters were selected for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and took a special oath in front of their leaders to not disclose any secrets about their training or the operation’s plans.

The sources confirmed that many of the leaders of the brigades were not aware of any details or intentions for an imminent attack. Very few were informed of limited information related to their tasks. This was part of a security plan that was developed to prevent the leakage of any information that might reach Israeli intelligence.

Planning and decision-making were restricted to only five people: Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Mohammed Deif, the commander of Al-Qassam Brigades, one of his most important assistants, Mohammed Sinwar, the deputy Hamas leader, Rouhi Mushtaha, and Ayman Nofal, the former head of Al-Qassam Brigades’ intelligence and commander of the Central Gaza Brigade. Nofal was assassinated by Israel in October.

According to the sources, the officials responsible for preparing Operation Al-Aqsa Flood later informed the leaders of Al-Qassam Brigades’ units of the preparations that had been made and the attack plan, but not its timing. They were notified three days before the operation, then met with the leaders of the brigades’ regions and gave each leader specific tasks. The brigades’ leaders, in turn, prepared their selected forces for the mission. Ayman Siam, the head of Hamas's rocket firing array, received special instructions to launch hundreds of rockets simultaneously with the start of the attack. Siam was also killed by Israel during the current war.

The sources explained how the date, October 7, was chosen following field reports from monitoring units confirming a complete calm on the borders. Then, on Friday, the five officials decided that the best time was Saturday morning, giving orders at midnight to begin the operation. Field leaders and fighters of the elite forces began to move until dawn, then the operation began.

The same sources said that Hamas leaders inside and outside Gaza including Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy Saleh Al-Arouri, were briefed hours before the operation and were asked to disappear completely per security measures taken in emergencies.

The primary goal of the plan was to execute a “large-scale qualitative attack” and capture a group of Israeli soldiers, but surprises occurred that made the attack wider. The fighters were surprised by the weakness of Israel’s defense lines, which led to the killing, injury, and capture of a large number of soldiers immediately.

After an hour and a half of the first attack, the rest of the members of the elite unit were mobilized. Messages were sent to them to gather at different points and move as support forces for the units inside the kibbutz. Later, the coordinator of Al-Qassam Brigades informed the remaining armed wings of the possibility of participating in the operation and assigned specific tasks to each faction. The attack expanded, and hundreds of resistance fighters, citizens, and even journalists succeeded in entering the Israeli settlements.

After capturing dozens of Israelis, leaders of Al-Qassam Brigades asked the resistance fighters in the settlements to distract the Israeli forces as much as possible to successfully collect and hide the abductees.

They succeeded in transferring about 240 captives inside the Gaza Strip. About 136 of them remain after the November prisoner exchange operations.

The attack led to the killing of more than 1,200 Israelis. In contrast, Israel reports killing at least 1,500 members of Hamas.

They have additionally killed more than 23,000 civilians in Gaza in its ongoing retaliatory war.

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