Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reports, citing informed sources, that an elite unit of Hamas' military wing was supposed to storm the Shikma prison in Ashkelon and free the Palestinian prisoners as part of the attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

The operation was assigned to two units. One, consisting of 23 fighters, was to head directly to the prison, while the second was to join them later after seizing a nearby military base.

The plan was detailed and carefully crafted. The first group was to breach the main gate of the prison, located 13 kilometers from the Gaza border, using explosives and anti-tank missiles.

Upon the signal from the fighters, the prison was supposed to come under heavy rocket fire from Gaza. After the start of the assault, hundreds of Palestinian inmates were supposed to revolt inside the prison.

Due to a navigation error, one group ended up at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, where their attempted assault failed. The second group also got lost and ended up in Sderot, where they stormed a police station.

The newspaper claims that the initial plan of the operation envisioned taking hostages for further exchange for Palestinian prisoners, but an "unplanned escalation" occurred.