House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, claimed Wednesday that Egyptian officials warned Israel of a potential attack from Hamas prior to the deadly incursion in which the Palestinian terror group murdered hundreds of civilians.
In a public address Monday, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly denied any such claim.
McCaul reacted on “Your World” to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby being asked about such allegations during a White House press briefing.
Kirby had said he could not speak to “specific intelligence matters” and that the White House’s focus is cooperating with Israel and making sure Netanyahu’s administration gets the “tools they need.”
McCaul said he would not get too specific.
“We do know the Egyptian intelligence did refer this to Israel. And I can’t get into any more depth than that. But I do think there was a threat-stream out there. It was a failure of intelligence,” he said on “Your World.”
The Texas lawmaker said he moderated a classified briefing on the invasion with the entire U.S. House, adding Hamas reportedly planned their attack for more than a year.
“When the Egyptians did warn Israeli officials, obviously, there wasn’t enough done to stop it. This concerns me not just with respect to Hamas, but what about our intelligence on Hezbollah? What about our intelligence on Iran? They say there’s no clear link to Iran. I disagree with that.”
He went on to call claims from U.S. officials that Iran didn’t have obvious complicity with the attack “absolutely laughable.”
For his part Netanyahu said Monday that no warning came from Cairo, and called the story “fake news” during a public address.
“No early message came from Egypt and the prime minister did not speak or meet with the intelligence chief since the establishment of the government,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement according to the Jerusalem Post.
“The report to the effect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a message in advance from Egypt is absolutely false,” the PM’s office tweeted, according to the New York Post.
McCaul said it is not entirely clear what the U.S. intelligence community knew or didn’t know about the attack either.
He went on to note the bloody invasion occurred around the 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, and that of the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Anwar Sadat – who is remembered for forging a landmark peace agreement with then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
The treaty, known as the Camp David Accords, were signed in 1978 under the mediation of then-President Jimmy Carter at the presidential retreat in Maryland.
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