Mossad failed to warn about 1973 war, declassified papers show

(JTA) — The Mossad failed to pass on warnings by credible sources that Egypt would strike Israel in 1973, newly declassified Israeli documents show.


The documents -– minutes of the Agranat Commission of Inquiry of the circumstances of the 1973 Yom Kippur War -– quote an official of Israel’s external intelligence agancy as testifying that the warnings had reached Mossad five days before the attack actually happened.

Under the guise of military training, large Egyptian and Syrian forces amassed along the borders and then invaded Israeli-held territory in a surprise attack on Oct. 6 that year. Israeli forces suffered 2,222 fatalities before driving back the invading armies..

Ashraf Marwan, a Mossad agent and the chief-of-staff of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, told his Mossad handler on 4 October that Egypt’s army would use a military exercise to launch a surprise attack in the near future.    

Upon receiving the report,  Alfred Eini, the Mossad’s then deputy director, called his boss, Tzvi Zamir, late at night.

Eini testified before the Agranat Commission that Zamir “was half asleep and did not understand the content of the report.”

The Mossad did not alert the Prime Minister’s Office as to the report.

The documents were released this week and reported in Israeli media.

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