The head of Israeli military intelligence, who last year accepted responsibility for the failures that allowed the Hamas-led attack on Israel on Oct. 7, has resigned, the military said in a statement on Monday.

Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva was one of a number of senior Israeli commanders who said they had failed to foresee and prevent the most devastating attack in Israel’s history.

“The intelligence division under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I have carried that black day with me ever since,” he said in a resignation letter released by the military.

During the Oct. 7 attack, thousands of fighters from Hamas and other groups broke through the high-tech security barriers around Gaza, surprising Israeli forces and rampaging through the communities around the enclave.

A cleanshaven older man is shown in closeup.
This image made from video provided by Israeli Defence Forces in December shows Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s military intelligence in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, in an undated photo. (Israel Defence Forces/The Associated Press)

Some 1,200 Israelis and foreigners were killed in the attack, including several Canadian citizens. Around 250 were taken into captivity in Gaza, where 133 remain as hostages, according to Israeli government tallies.

The attack badly tarnished the reputation of the Israeli military and intelligence services, previously seen as virtually unbeatable.

The head of the armed forces, Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, and the head of the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, both accepted responsibility in the aftermath of the attack but have stayed on while the war in Gaza has continued.

By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far not accepted responsibility, although surveys indicate that most Israelis blame him for failing to do enough to prevent or defend against the attack.

Thousands of Israeli demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday to call for new elections and demand more action from the government to bring the hostages held in Gaza home, in the latest round of protests against Netanyahu.

“We’re here to protest against this government that keeps dragging us down, month after month; before October 7, after October 7. We kept going down in a spiral,” said Yalon Pikman, 58, who attended a march in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu has pledged to continue the Israeli campaign in Gaza, threatening a ground offensive in Rafah, where it’s believed over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are currently gathered.

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U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Israel not to launch a large-scale offensive in Rafah to avoid more Palestinian civilian casualties.

At least 34,151 Palestinians have been killed and 77,084 wounded in Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement on Monday. The ministry does not distinguish between combatants and civilians, though it has said the majority of the dead are women and children.

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