Attack Analysis: Weapons of the Palestinian Militant Groups and Captured Israeli Materiel
On the morning of October 7, Hamas militants struck out in an unprecedented series of attacks from the Gaza Strip. These began when fighters used explosives to break through the border fence, crossing into Israeli territory on motorcycles and pickup trucks as well as speed boats and paragliders from the coast. Gunmen stormed at least 22 locations in southern Israel within 12 hours, and this combined with the subsequent launching of some 2,500 rockets from the Strip, resulted in the deaths of an estimated 600+ individuals with another 2,408 wounded and several others taken hostage.
The attacks came as Israelis celebrated Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday often accompanied by dancing and singing. In one incident, the militants targeted a music festival with footage showing hundreds fleeing across fields following the killing of at least 260 attendees and abduction of others. Israeli intelligence was reportedly unaware of the impending attack, prompting former Israeli Navy chief Eli Maron to state that “All of Israel is asking itself: Where is the IDF, where is the police, where is the security?”, further claiming that “It’s a colossal failure; the [defence] establishments have simply failed, with vast consequences”. Several U.S. officials were also reportedly surprised by the attacks. “I’m confident we had no intel,” said retired Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery. Montgomery also claimed that a senior U.S. military officer had returned to the U.S. in recent days, implying that such a thing would not have occurred if Washington was aware of an impending attack.