Netanyahu apologises for blaming Israeli spy chiefs over Hamas attacks

Benjamin Netanyahu apologises after blaming Israeli intelligence chiefs for failing to detect any signs Hamas was planning its barbaric terror attack in extraordinary security row

  • Benny Gantz, a war cabinet member, urged Netanyahu to retract his statement
  • READ MORE: IDF releases video showing how Hamas use tunnels to plan attacks

An extraordinary row erupted in Israel’s war cabinet overnight after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to blame security and intelligence officials for failing to detect signs that Hamas’s devastating invasion was imminent.

Netanyahu, who has faced anger from opposition and Israeli border communities over security lapses before the October 7 Hamas attack, made the accusations in a post overnight, which he later deleted and replaced with an apology.

It exposed apparent infighting in Israel’s emergency government after what was meant to be a show of unity between Netanyahu, Defence Minister Gallant and Knesset member Benny Gantz.

The war cabinet members released a joint statement announcing the expansion of ground operations in Gaza and said that the country is ‘more united than ever’ last night, but Netanyahu’s comments shortly after drew widespread backlash.

‘Never, under any circumstance, was prime minister Netanyahu alerted to Hamas’ intent to launch a war,’ his now-deleted post on the premier’s account read.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to blame security and intelligence officials for failing to detect signs of Hamas ‘s devastating invasion

Hamas militants snatched 230 hostages from kibbutz communities, a music festival, towns and military bases across southern Israel during the October 7 attack

‘On the contrary, all security officials, including the head of military intelligence and the head of Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency), believed Hamas was deterred.

‘This was the evaluation that was submitted time and again to the prime minister and the (security) cabinet by all security officials and the intelligence community, right until the war broke out.’

The post was published on X hours after Netanyahu gave a press conference late on Saturday, in which he was asked if he had been warned about the danger of an attack.

It was deleted on Sunday morning and replaced a few minutes later.

‘I was wrong,’ he declared in the new post.

‘Things I said following the press conference shouldn’t have been said, and I apologise for that.

‘I fully back all the heads of the security establishment. I back the military chief of staff, and the commanders and soldiers of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) who are on the front and fighting for our home. Together we will win,’ he wrote.

Minister Gantz, a retired general and member of Israel’s war cabinet, urged Netanyahu to retract the statement. 

Israel’s opposition politician Yair Lapid also slammed Netanyahu, saying the PM ‘crossed a red line’. 

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz speak during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv

Israeli soldiers inspect the site of a music festival near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on Friday October 13

He recently criticised the government for not being ‘present’ and ‘failing to emerge from the ‘shock’ of 0ctober 7, which Israel says left 1,400 dead, most of them civilians.

At Saturday’s press conference, Netanyahu said there had been a ‘terrible failure’ before the attacks, during which Hamas militants also snatched 230 hostages from kibbutz communities, a music festival, towns and military bases across southern Israel.

‘There was a terrible failure and this will be examined intensively. No stone will be left unturned. For the moment, my mission is to save the country, and lead the soldiers to a total victory over Hamas and the forces of evil.’

A view of the remains of a mosque and houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in the central Gaza Strip

Israeli soldiers prepare for ground manoeuvres at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza

Several political analysts say the right-wing prime minister’s political career will be ended after the war over the security failures given that he has made Israel’s defence a cornerstone of his political campaigns.

The Likud party chief would face considerable pressure if an independent inquiry found the government was negligent. 

Although Netanyahu has said there will be an investigation, he has given no details about how it would be handled.

Israel declared war in the aftermath of Hamas’s bloody incursion, which has seen relentless aerial bombardment of the densely populated Gaza Strip, home to some 2.3million people.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says more than 8,000 people have been killed in Israeli air and ground strikes since Israel declared war just over three weeks ago. 

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