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Middle East conflict

Israeli military intelligence head resigns over 7 October attack failures

Israeli military intelligence head resigns over 7 October attack failures
An Israeli national flag hangs from a home, damaged during fighting with Hamas militants, in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Israel, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. On Oct. 7, Hamas militants in Gaza pulled off a shocking air, sea and land invasion of southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking dozens of hostages. Photographer: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

JERUSALEM, April 22 (Reuters) - The head of Israeli military intelligence, who last year accepted responsibility for the failures that allowed the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7, has resigned, the military said in a statement on Monday.

Major General Aharon Haliva was one of a number of senior Israeli commanders who said they had failed to foresee and prevent the most devastating attack in Israel’s history.

“The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I have carried that black day with me ever since,” he said in a resignation letter released by the military.

During the Oct. 7 attack, thousands of fighters from Hamas and other groups broke through the high tech security barriers around Gaza, surprising Israeli forces and rampaging through the communities around the enclave.

Some 1,200 Israelis and foreigners were killed in the attack, most of them civilians, and around 250 were taken into captivity in Gaza, where 133 remain as hostages.

The attack badly tarnished the reputation of the Israeli military and intelligence services, previously seen as virtually unbeatable.

The head of the armed forces, Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi, and the head of the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, both accepted responsibility in the aftermath of the attack but have stayed on while the war in Gaza has continued.

By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far not accepted responsibility, although surveys indicate that most Israelis blame him for failing to do enough to prevent or defend against the attack.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Chopra and Peter Graff)

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