‘Serious’ errors let Hamas infiltrate kibbutz on Oct. 7, per internal IDF probe
Anat Meir mourns near the grave of her husband, Sayeret Matkal soldier David Meir, who was killed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 at the battle on Kibbutz Be’eri, at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on July 9, 2024. Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90

The investigation shows that “the security forces did not provide sufficient warning to the residents of Be’eri about the infiltration of terrorists during the first hours of the terrorist attack.”

JNS Staff Report
July 11, 2024

Nearly 350 Hamas terrorists, including 100 members of the terror group’s elite Nukhba Force, managed to infiltrate Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel on Oct. 7 due to catastrophic failures by the Israel Defense Forces in their readiness and response, according to the first part of the IDF’s internal probe of the attacks.

“The IDF had difficulty creating a clear picture of what was happening in the kibbutz until the afternoon hours of Oct. 7, even though the yishuv emergency team had an updated picture of what was happening in the kibbutz during the morning hours,” per the Hebrew report, which the military released on Thursday evening.

“The investigation shows that the security forces did not provide sufficient warning to the residents of Be’eri about the infiltration of terrorists during the first hours of the terrorist attack,” the report adds.

In the early hours of the attack on Oct. 7, a Shabbat morning, fighting at the kibbutz “was characterized by a lack of command and control and a lack of coordination and order between the various forces and units,” per the investigation, which took three months and drew on hundreds of hours of interviews and thousands of materials. “This caused a number of incidents in which security forces gathered at the entrance to the kibbutz and did not engage in combat immediately.”

The IDF presented the findings to the kibbutz community, and the families of victims and hostages, before releasing them publicly.

A few hours prior to the public release of the investigation, members of the kibbutz said that the probe was thorough but left important questions unanswered, Israeli media reported.

Israeli media also reported that family members of Be’eri victims called for IDF leaders to resign.

‘Acts of heroism’

According to the investigation, Hamas killed 101 civilians at Be’eri and kidnapped 32 people, 11 of whom remain hostages in Gaza. The probe credited the local armed response team with “determination and courage.”

“Their bravery, in defending the kibbutz and its residents with their bodies, should be considered a miracle,” the investigation states. “It was this fighting that stopped the total occupation of the kibbutz and saved many lives.” The Israeli military also praised the yishuv emergency team for “forming an updated situational picture and maintaining contact with the residents under fire.”

“Many security forces fought bravely in Kibbutz Be’eri and performed acts of heroism,” the probe added. “At the same time, serious errors and mistakes were made, and we have the duty to learn, strengthen and correct for the future.”

Israeli soldiers “acted with great bravery and ferocity,” according to the investigation, and 31 were killed in combat, including 23 IDF members and armed response team members, in addition to eight police officers. Many soldiers and civilians were hurt.

Some 100 terrorists were killed at the kibbutz, per the investigation.

The report concluded that the IDF “was not prepared for the kind of extensive infiltration scenario that happened on Oct. 7, which included multiple areas of infiltration by thousands of terrorists, attacking in dozens of focal points at the same time.”

Be'eri bulldozer
A bulldozer destroys a house that was damaged during the Oct. 7 massacre in Kibbutz Be’eri near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, as part of a project rebuilding the destroyed homes and infrastructure in the Kibbutz, July 7, 2024. Photo by Oren Cohen/Flash90.

‘Forming a complete picture of the situation’

The IDF is conducting a larger investigation into the events of Oct. 7 and its response to the terror attack. The report released on Thursday relates only to what occurred at Kibbutz Be’eri.

A “turning the tide” moment occurred when 99th Division commander Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram was appointed commander of the area, per the investigation.

“Due to the multiplicity of centers and the need for urgent solutions, a senior commander was appointed to each central combat center in order to activate the forces that arrived in the sector in an optimal and coordinated manner, so as not to rely on organic forces, an operation that would have lasted a long time,” it stated.

The appointment of Hiram wound up being “of great significance in increasing the operational effectiveness against the enemy, responding to the residents, and creating clarity in the situation and proper command of the fighting forces,” per the investigation, which added that there were times when the IDF did not safeguard evacuated residents sufficiently or provide their basic needs.

The investigation concluded that at times, “a situation arose in which forces fought to defend a post, and to evacuate and treat wounded soldiers before doing so for the civilians.”

“These cases resulted from difficulty in forming a complete picture of the situation and therefore forces that were attacked acted to defend themselves,” it added. “The imperative to act and strive for the protection of citizens must be absolutely strengthened as a supreme task before anything else. Soldiers will always give priority to treating civilians, evacuation, protection and any need that arises on the battlefield.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi “accepted all the findings that emerged from the investigation and ordered for them to be into future defense and combat plans,” the IDF said.

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