Israel reportedly applied controversial ‘Hannibal Directive’ in October 7 attack

Israel reportedly applied controversial ‘Hannibal Directive’ in October 7 attack
Israel reportedly applied controversial ‘Hannibal Directive’ in October 7 attack

The order given on Saturday, October 7, the day of the unprecedented attack carried out by Hamas on Israeli soil, is very clear: “ No vehicles should return to Gaza“. In a report published this Sunday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz accuses, in particular on this basis, the Israeli army of having applied the “Hannibal directive”, a military policy aimed at preventing the capture of hostages by enemy forces, whatever the cost.

“If it was just about destroying Hamas, there was no need to destroy all of Gaza to get there. I confess I don’t understand.”

Citing testimonies from Israeli soldiers and senior army officers, the media outlet claims that the Israeli army began making decisions based on limited and unverified information right from the attack. According to a source within the Southern Command, quoted by Haaretzthe order to prevent by all means the escape of Palestinian cars was reportedly communicated while “Everyone knew that these vehicles were carrying kidnapped civilians or soldiers.“.

Investigations an internal

While the newspaper says it does not have an exact figure for the number of civilians and soldiers killed by Israeli fire based on these instructions, it adds that “Cumulative data indicate that many of the abductees were in danger, exposed to Israeli fire, even if they were not the target“The death toll from the attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel is estimated at 1,139, while nearly 250 other people have been taken prisoner, according to Israeli authorities.

In Israel, international condemnations fall on deaf ears

For the past nine months, the IDF has refused to confirm the use of the Hannibal Doctrine. However, a high-ranking military official mentioned by Haaretz would have confirmed that the directive has “was employed on October 7“and that post-war investigations will reveal who gave this order. A military spokesman indeed maintained to the Israeli media that “internal investigations” have been launched and the results “will be presented publicly, in a transparent manner“.

A controversial directive

The Hannibal Protocol was a directive designed by Israel in the 1980s, in the midst of a conflict with the Lebanese Hezbollah. Although it was not based on any official text, it made it possible to avoid the extremely costly exchanges of captives between the Hebrew state and its adversaries. Without waiting for the approval of the Prime Minister, the doctrine could be triggered by officers on the ground. In addition to shooting at the kidnappers, the soldiers who received the order could target crossroads, roads, highways and any other route that opponents took to try to flee the country. Long kept secret, it was finally revealed to the public in 2003.

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The directive, which has been criticized, was last invoked in 2014 during Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip, according to leaked military audio, although the Israeli military has denied using the doctrine. During a clash, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured near the southern city of Rafah. The Israeli army then indiscriminately struck Palestinian homes and vehicles, killing 135 civilians, including 75 children. The soldier was killed, although it is unclear whether the captors or IDF third parties caused his death. The doctrine would finally be officially revoked in 2016… before, perhaps, being put back into practice.

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