newsOctober 7

Israel Security Agency chief ordered to investigate handling of Oct. 7

ISA chief Ronen Bar will lead the probe into the events of and preceding the deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel.

Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet security services speaks at the annual Cyber Week, at the Tel Aviv University, on June 27, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet security services speaks at the annual Cyber Week, at the Tel Aviv University, on June 27, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Israel Security Agency head Ronen Bar has been ordered to begin investigations into the agency’s handling of the Hamas-led terrorist attack of Oct. 7 and the events that preceded the massacre, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

ISA officials told Ynet that the operational probe is estimated to take several weeks and possibly months due to the ongoing hostilities in Gaza, counterterrorism operations in Judea and Samaria and an increase in threats associated with the upcoming Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

The investigation will examine what happened overnight between Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, when a warning was received about a possible terror operation by Hamas, according to the report. Also under the microscope will be the swapping of SIM cards by Hamas terrorists a few hours before the attack, and why no agents embedded with Hamas in Gaza gave warning of a planned attack.

A few hours before the attack, the IDF and ISA received signals of Hamas activity along the border area. Overnight Friday, Oct. 6, a phone discussion took place with the participation of IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and other generals. The ISA realized something was happening and Bar arrived at ISA headquarters and stayed there until the attack began.

A special ISA “Tequila” team was sent south to the Gaza border area a few hours before the attack. They were among the first fighters to encounter the Hamas terrorists after they broke through the barrier. Ten ISA members were killed during the attack, including seven who fought off dozens of terrorists, two at the Nova music festival and one, Smadar Mor Idan, who was murdered in her home in Kfar Aza along with her husband, Roee Idan. Their 3-year-old daughter, Avigail, was kidnapped to Gaza and released on Nov. 26 as part of a ceasefire deal. She turned 4 in captivity, just two days before her release.

The ISA investigation joins that of the IDF, which late last month launched an internal investigation into the military’s response to the Oct. 7 massacre and the period preceding.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman has also started collecting materials from the ISA for an investigation he is conducting into the massacre.

“The responsibility is mine, we failed to generate sufficient warning, and now investigations have begun in the organization to understand why this happened,” ISA Director Bar announced shortly after the war started.

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