Shin Bet reports significant decline in Palestinian attacks


Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency reported to the Cabinet yesterday that the past month has seen a significant drop in the number of Palestinian attacks on Israelis. It put this trend down to effective yet discreet counter-terrorism measures.

The wave of violence since October has seen near-daily attacks at times, resulting in the killing of at least 31 Israelis and more than 250 wounded. However, the Shin Bet said yesterday that in April there had so far been just three significant attacks, compared with 20 in March and 78 in October.

The Shin Bet explained that the decline was due to “effective deterrent measures to prevent additional attacks and determined action against Palestinian incitement.” In particular, the security agency said it had taken action to foil Hamas, which “significantly increased its efforts to carry out attacks during this period (including abductions and suicide attacks).”

Since the start of 2015, the Shin Bet said it had foiled almost 300 significant attacks, including 25 attempted abductions and 15 planned suicide attacks. It said that successful preventative measures had “left a sense among the Palestinian public (especially lone terrorists) that escalation is useless.”

The Shin Bet also emphasised that the actions of Israeli security forces had taken place “in the context of an effort not to disrupt the fabric of life of a majority of the Palestinian population, which is not involved in terrorism, and to continue cooperation with the Palestinian security services.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet yesterday that the attacks had been reduced due to the government’s “strong, responsible and methodological policy.” However, he warned that the downward trend could also reverse.

Netanyahu also reiterated a ban on government ministers and Knesset members from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem ahead of the Passover holiday at the end of the month. The site was a focal point for attacks towards the start of the current period of violence.