update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu denies report Cairo warned of Hamas attack

The Islamist group likely to do “something unusual, a terrible operation,” Egypt allegedly told the Israeli premier.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets in Jerusalem with Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel, the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate, May 30, 2021. Credit: Prime Minister's Office.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets in Jerusalem with Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel, the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate, May 30, 2021. Credit: Prime Minister's Office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday dismissed as “totally fake news” and “absolutely false” reports that the Egyptian spy chief warned him of a major impending Palestinian attack from Gaza.

Ynet had reported that Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel, the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, told Netanyahu 10 days before Saturday’s massive attack that Gazans were likely to do “something unusual, a terrible operation.”

“The report to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a message in advance from Egypt is absolutely false,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read.

“No message in advance has arrived from Egypt and the prime minister has neither spoken nor met with the head of Egyptian intelligence since the formation of the government [in late December]—neither directly nor indirectly. This is totally fake news,” the PMO’s statement continued.

Before the Ynet article, the Associated Press reported that allies which share intelligence with Israel said its security agencies were misreading reality.

The report cited an Egyptian intelligence official saying that Cairo, which has several times served as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, had spoken repeatedly with the Israelis about “something big,” without elaborating.

The Egyptian intelligence official said Israeli officials were focused on Judea and Samaria, and played down the threat from Gaza.

The surprise attack killed more than 900 Israelis and wounded 2,600 others in the most lethal assault on the country since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

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