IDF used controversial ‘Hannibal protocol’ endangering civilians on Oct 7: Report

Published July 8, 2023
On 7 October, during the initial chaos of the Hamas assault, Israel’s armed forces reportedly employed a controversial battle tactic called the “Hannibal protocol,” claims a report.
As per the Israeli daily Haaretz, this procedure was used at three army facilities attacked by Hamas and potentially put civilians at risk.

What is the Hannibal Protocol?

This controversial directive as per reports was used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) until 2016. The protocol has just one goal: to prevent the capture of soldiers by enemy soldiers, even at the cost of hostages’ lives.

According to “Forensic Architecture, Violence at the Threshold of Detectability” a book by Eyal Weizman, one version of the Hannibal Protocol says that “the kidnapping must be stopped by all means, even at the price of striking and harming our own forces.”

Reportedly, at 11:22 am, about five hours after the attack began, a directive was issued to Israel’s Gaza division stating, “Not a single vehicle can return to Gaza.”

This message, as per the Haaretz report quoting a source, meant preventing any vehicles from returning, regardless of potential casualties.

“Everyone knew by then that such vehicles could be carrying kidnapped civilians or soldiers … Everyone knew what it meant to not let any vehicles return to Gaza.”



RELATED: IDF officers invoked defunct ‘Hannibal Protocol’ during Oct. 7 fighting – report

Haaretz alleges that senior officers in Gaza Division ordered soldiers to use whatever means necessary to prevent abductions, even if it posed risk to life

The remains of the home of Pessi Cohen, where Hamas held 14 Israelis hostage on October 7, 2023, in Kibbutz Be’eri, seen on November 19, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Published July 8, 2024

During the first hours of the October 7 Hamas terror onslaught in southern Israel, IDF troops on the ground were instructed to prevent the kidnapping of soldiers into Gaza by whatever means necessary, as senior officers in the Gaza Division allegedly implemented the controversial “Hannibal Protocol,” according to newly reported testimonies of soldiers and officers.

The Haaretz daily newspaper reported on Sunday that it had obtained documents and collected testimonies from troops who partook in the fighting on October 7. The data, Haaretz said, collectively pointed toward the use of the Hannibal Protocol, a military order officially repealed in 2016 that granted troops broad permission to do whatever necessary to prevent the kidnapping of a fellow soldier, including potentially endangering their life.

When the first Hamas terrorists breached the border fence between Israel and Gaza in the early hours of Saturday, October 7, the IDF was caught completely unaware and thus struggled to mount a response during the first few hours of the invasion.

At 7:18 a.m., less than an hour after the mass terror onslaught had begun, an IDF soldier monitoring surveillance cameras reported an attempted kidnapping of a soldier stationed at the Erez Crossing, which borders northern Gaza.

The response from command was an order for “Hannibal at Erez,” Haaretz alleged, and an instruction to dispatch an attack drone. Half an hour later, a second abduction was reported and the same order was said to have been issued.

Similar orders were also given to soldiers operating inside the Re’im Camp and Nahal Oz post, and according to testimonies, a Hermes 450 drone attacked the Re’im base once Shaldag commandos were already there fighting to regain control from the terrorists.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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