The United States has collected specific intelligence that suggests senior Iranian government officials were caught by surprise by Saturday’s bloody attack on Israel by Hamas, according to multiple sources familiar with the intelligence.
The existence of the intelligence has cast doubt on the idea that Iran was directly involved in the planning, resourcing or approving of the operation, sources said.
The sources stressed that the US intelligence community is not ready to reach a full conclusion about whether Tehran was directly involved in the run-up to the attack. They continue to look for evidence of Iranian involvement, which caught both Israel and the United States by surprise.
And since the attack, government officials have noted that Iran has provided longstanding and significant support for Hamas, including weapons and financing, that unquestionably contributed to Hamas’s ability to pull off such a massive operation.
But the sources said that this intelligence – which has been briefed to lawmakers on Capitol Hill – has led US analysts to lean toward an initial assessment that the government of Iran did not play a direct role in the attack. [Continue reading…]