The use of deception by Hamas and the 7 October attack

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This article is featured in Orient I/2024.

The short piece seeks to highlight the role of deception in Hamas’s ability to successfully create the surprise that enabled its attack on 7 October 2023. As the weaker non-state actor in the asymmetric conflict with Israel, Hamas aimed to conceal its intention to launch an attack and blur the signs indicating its plans, using one of the offensive counterintelligence methods, deception, both strategically and tactically. The main lesson of the article is that policymakers and intelligence personnel need to be acutely aware and consider the possibility that the opposing side is employing deception against them, and do everything in their power to negate this possibility in the intelligence analysis process.

Netanel Flamer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University and senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He is the author of Hamas Intelligence Warfare Against Israel, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. He specialises in intelligence, terrorism and asymmetrical warfare in the Middle East.

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