The U.S. intelligence community warned Israeli and U.S. officials of a potential for escalation in violence in the weeks before Hamas’ massive surprise attack Saturday, the New York Times and CNN reported Friday.
The CIA produced at least two classified reports, based in part on intelligence provided by Israel, warning of an increased risk for conflict, but neither of the assessments offered details that would indicate the massive scope and scale of Saturday’s assault on Israeli targets.
“The problem is that none of this is new,” one of the sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN. “This is something that has historically been the norm between Hamas and Israel. I think what happened is everyone saw these reports and were like, ‘Yeah of course. But we know what this will look like.’”
The first of the intelligence reports, dated September 28, described the possibility that Hamas would launch rockets into Israel over a period of several days.
The second report, dated October 5, built on the first but was more analytical, according to the Times. It appeared in a daily CIA summary of intelligence that is distributed widely to policymakers and lawmakers, officials told the Times.
The CIA regularly writes reports on violence between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the West Bank, and the intel agency has recently put more focus on risks of violence in the Gaza Strip. However, while the new reports did warn of potential rocket fire, they did not say that Hamas intended to employ new tactics against Israel, such as a ground incursion.
According to the Times, the reports were not briefed up to President Biden.
As of Friday, number of Palestinians who have died since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza rose to 1,799 along with 7,388 wounded, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. On Thursday Israeli officials said that 1,300 people had been killed in that country while another 3,000 have been wounded.
The CIA declined both the Times’ and CNN’s requests for comment on the intelligence assessments while the White House did not respond to either news outlet’s requests for comment.