Former U.S. intelligence and military officials said the unprecedented scale and sophistication of tactics used by Hamas in its attack on Israel suggested Iran likely played a major role in the attack on multiple fronts.
From using speedboats to taking hostages to encircling opponents, Hamas’s actions illustrate the methods Iran and its proxies often use against adversaries with superior conventional forces, three former senior intelligence officials and a former senior military officer said.
“The sophistication of this attack appears to be beyond Hamas’ capabilities,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said.
But senior Hamas official Ali Baraka denied in an interview that Iran supported or sanctioned the operation. “This is a surprise for everyone, including Iran,” said Barakah, Hamas’s head of overseas relations.
Speaking in Beirut, Baraka noted that Iran supports Hamas, but insisted, “We did not inform them that the operation would be carried out at dawn on October 7.” He added, “We informed Iran after the operation began. .”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Iranian security officials helped Hamas plan the surprise attack and approved it at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah. plan. The Wall Street Journal reported that officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been working with Hamas since August to plan sophisticated air, land and sea attacks.
Two U.S. officials told NBC News they had no information to confirm the Wall Street Journal report.
A senior Israeli diplomatic source said Israel was not worried about a direct war with Iran.
“Iran’s strategy is one of proxy warfare and it denies direct links to Hamas’ efforts,” the source said. “They work through proxies, which is why they are the No. 1 state sponsor of terror.”
Iran denied involvement in the attack. Asked about claims that Iran was behind the Hamas attacks, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters on Monday that “such politicized accusations were prompted by Israel’s disastrous defeat.”
Marc Polymeropoulos, a former CIA officer specializing in counterterrorism, Middle East and South Asia affairs, say on X It is crucial for intelligence agencies to determine Iran’s exact role in the raid.
He said the difference between “‘directing’ an attack and actually giving the green light” and “‘coordination’ could be the difference between going to war with Iran or not.”
U.S. officials and analysts say that for decades, Iran has tried to counter technologically advanced adversaries through guerrilla or low-tech means, surrounding warships with small speedboats, firing rockets, using drones and missiles to cripple an opponent’s air force, and kidnapping foreigners. .
Michael Knights in Washington says that when one of Iran’s proxies, whether it’s Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen or Hamas in Gaza, shows significant advances in military sophistication, it’s often a sign that Tehran A helping hand has been extended. Institute for Near East Policy.
“This was the case in 2006 when the Houthis took over Yemen and when Hezbollah defended Israel,” Knights said.
Colin Clarke, a senior fellow at the Soufan Center, said the simultaneous attacks on Israel in multiple locations with rockets, small guerrilla groups, kidnapping forces and speedboats “are full of Iranian training, weapons supplies and possibly even A Taste of Iranian Intelligence”. Focus on global security.
“This is a comprehensive attack from multiple entry points. I have to believe that the Iranians are making a difference,” he said.
A central question is how Hamas members can breach Israel’s secured border with Gaza, which consists of a series of fences, security posts, regular patrols, advanced cameras and ground motion sensors.
Army veteran Mark Montgomery said the relative ease with which Hamas militants were able to cross at multiple points along the border raised the possibility that the militants may have jammed cameras and electronic sensors so that the Israelis could not when the attack began Get early warning. A US Navy rear admiral who visited the border area recently.
Montgomery said in an interview that some security sensors may have been “compromised very early on,” which would have “allowed troops to get through before they could adequately respond.”