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Head of Israel's Internal Security Agency takes responsibility for failure to thwart Hamas attack

Jerusalem: The head of Israel’s Internal Security Agency (ISA), Ronen Bar, took responsibility for failing to foil Hamas’ brutal attack on October 7 in which more than 1,300 people died, but vowed to fight till the end for a decisive victory in the war.

Bar, in his first comments following the surprise attack that has left everybody shell-shocked in Israel, said the ISA ‘failed to generate’ a warning.

“Despite a series of actions we carried out, unfortunately, last Saturday, we were unable to create a sufficient advance warning that would allow us to thwart the attack. As the one who heads the organisation, the responsibility for this is mine,” Bar was quoted by the local media as saying on Monday.

However, he emphasised that “there will be time for investigations. Now we are fighting.”

The intelligence officer noted that his organisation on the very day of the attack set up a special system, in cooperation with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), to locate, identify, and concentrate efforts to recover kidnapped and missing persons.

They also formed various dedicated teams according to the needs of the fighting at the time, he said.

“Our men showed bravery, courage, and fighting spirit. The forces deployed in the south moved from battle to battle, facing dozens of terrorists. We lost ten of our best men, many of us were wounded, and the servicemen lost their relatives. Countless stories of heroism have emerged, with workers striving to engage without hesitation,” the ISA (also known as Shin Bet) chief stressed.

“All of the organisation’s employees arrived at their units, task forces were created, dedicated teams were established. Everyone who carried a weapon went down to fight,” Bar said.

“Our operators from Task Force Tequila went to fight, the investigators brought intelligence from captured terrorists, and the coordinators in the field went through the operations to collect intelligence,” he said.

The ISA head added that the ‘intelligence triangle has a purpose and is producing results’.

“We are in a war, not ‘another round’. ‘Another round’ is won with an image of victory and in silence, a war ends with a decision and a change in the situation. There is no border limit, there is no time limit. Until the end,” Bar asserted.

Israel, which is known worldwide for its intelligence network, is devastated by the massive failure of its vaunted agencies.

The IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, had also taken responsibility for failing to stop the attack last week.

(Published 17 October 2023, 05:31 IST)

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