At October 7 Hamas attack, Israeli army used Hannibal Directive

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By Creative Media News

  • Israeli army used Hannibal Directive on October 7
  • Directive aims to prevent kidnappings at any cost
  • Procedure endangers both soldiers and civilians

According to an investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli army issued the Hannibal Directive, a controversial Israeli military strategy aimed at preventing enemy forces from capturing Israeli soldiers at any cost, on October 7, last year.

According to a Sunday report based on testimony from Israeli soldiers and senior army officers, during Hamas’ unprecedented attack last October, the Israeli army began making decisions based on limited and unverified information, issuing an order that “not a single vehicle can return to Gaza.

“At this point, the [Israeli army] was unaware of the scope of the kidnapping along the Gaza border, but it was aware that many people were involved.” As a result, it was very evident what that letter meant and what the fate of some of the kidnapped people would be,” the study stated.

According to the Palestinian armed group, Hamas captured dozens of Israelis on October 7, many of whom are still held captive or dead in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. However, many of those captured were civilians, not troops, to whom the Hannibal Directive does not apply.

The death toll in Israel from Hamas-led attacks is estimated to be 1,139, with over 250 others captured, according to Israeli police. Meanwhile, Israeli bombardment on Gaza has killed over 38,000 Palestinians since October 7.

While Haaertz stated that it was unaware of how many troops and civilians were killed as a result of the Hannibal military procedure, it did add that “the cumulative data indicates that many of the kidnapped people were at risk, exposed to Israeli gunfire, even if they were not the target.”

According to the study, the Hannibal protocol “was employed at three army facilities infiltrated by Hamas” and did not prevent the captivity of seven of them [troops] or the assassination of 15 other spotters, as well as 38 other soldiers.

What is the Hannibal Directive?

The Hannibal Directive, also known as the Hannibal Procedure or Hannibal Protocol, is an Israeli military guideline that requires the use of maximal force if a soldier is kidnapped, according to Yehuda Shaul, a former Israeli Army soldier.

“You will open fire without constraints to prevent the abduction,” he added, adding that the use of force is carried out even if it means murdering a prisoner soldier.

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Soldiers can fire at crossroads, roads, highways, and other avenues that opponents may use to kidnap a soldier, in addition to shooting at the abductors, Shaul said.

According to leaked military audio recordings, Israel utilized the Hannibal Directive for the last time during the 2014 war on Gaza, while the Israeli army denied doing so.

Dozens of Palestinians were murdered during the Israeli bombing, prompting claims of war crimes against the Israeli army.

The regulation was repealed in 2016, but it is unclear what caused its cancellation. According to Haaretz, a report by Israel’s state comptroller also suggested that the army repeal the policy due to criticism and varying interpretations by army personnel.

According to Haaretz’s inquiry, a top Israeli army source acknowledged that the Hannibal operation was “used on October 7.” The insider stated that post-war investigations would disclose who gave the order.

Meanwhile, an Israeli army spokeswoman informed the publication that the army “has begun conducting internal investigations of what transpired on October 7 and the preceding period”.

“The goal of these investigations is to learn and draw lessons that can be used to continue the war. According to the Israeli publication, the outcomes of these investigations will be transparently provided to the public,” the spokesperson stated.

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