Shin Bet: Terror attacks on ‘considerable decline’

Paramedics arrive at scene of attack in Jerusalem AMOS BEN GERSHOM/ISRAEL SUN PHOTO
Paramedics arrive at scene of attack in Jerusalem AMOS BEN GERSHOM/ISRAEL SUN PHOTO

JERUSALEM — There has been a “considerable decline” in the number of terror attacks committed by Palestinians in recent weeks, the Shin Bet security service told the Israeli Cabinet.

The number of attacks described as “significant” also has seriously declined, according to the Shin Bet, which reported 20 in March, compared to 78 last October, and three in April.

The main reason for the decline, according to the agency, is Israel’s counter-terrorist operation. In a statement about the Shin Bet presentation released by the Prime Minister’s Office following the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Shin Bet cited the operation against Hamas, “which significantly increased its efforts to carry out attacks during this period (including abductions and suicide attacks), effective deterrent measures to prevent additional attacks and determined action against Palestinian incitement.”

“All of these were 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,” the statement said.

The effective preventative measures have “left a sense among the Palestinian public (especially lone terrorists) that escalation is useless,” according to the Shin Bet.

Since the beginning of the escalation of Palestinian terror attacks beginning on Oct. 1, Palestinian terrorists have committed some 270 significant terrorist attacks, the Shin Bet said, and attempted attacks including shootings, stabbings and vehicular attacks, leading to the deaths of 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals, including two Americans.

Some 250 civilians have been wounded.

Most of the attacks have been isolated and carried out by youth. While some had nationalistic motives, the Shin Bet said, most were due to economic or personal hardship. In addition, “terrorist organizations, especially Hamas, have been trying in recent months to carry out major attacks” in the West Bank and in Israel proper “in order to accelerate the escalation,” according to the Shin Bet.

The Shin Bet said it and other security services have foiled over 290 significant attacks since the beginning of 2015 — most in the past six months —  including 25 abductions and 15 suicide attacks. The last fatal attack was a month ago.