Nadav Argaman, the chief of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet, told a Knesset committee that his organization prevented some 480 terror attacks during 2018, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
The attacks, which were described as “substantial,” included 280 planned shootings, 101 so-called “close” attacks such as car rammings and stabbings, 76 entailed the use of explosives, seven were abductions and six were intended suicide attacks.
Argaman also referenced the prevention of 590 potential “lone wolf” attacks and breaking up of 219 Hamas cells. It wasn’t clear to what degree the “lone wolf” attacks intersected with the others that were prevented.
However, in the past, when Argaman has spoken of potential “lone wolf” attacks, he has meant attacks that were thwarted earlier in their planning stages.
The Shin Bet has developed a sophisticated strategy for identifying potential “lone wolf” attackers, that involves monitoring social media, informants, and “a complex algorithm that takes into account people’s family connections to other terrorists, shot Palestinians and signs of depression,” the Post reported.
While some have questioned the Shin Bet’s methods as being too “speculative,” the approach led to ending the so-called “knife intifada,” which lasted from 2015 to 2017.
Ten Israelis were killed and 56 injured in this year’s terror attacks, as compared to nine killed and 66 injured in 2017. Of the ten Israelis killed, nine of them were murdered in so-called “lone wolf” attacks. Successful “lone wolf” attacks have dropped from 108 in 2016, to 54 last year, to 25 this year.
Argaman accused the Hamas leadership in both Turkey and Gaza with making great efforts to coordinate West Bank terror attacks. He also mentioned that Lebanon was a source for similar plans, underscoring an alliance between Hezbollah and Hamas.
In an overview of the threats facing Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, Argaman assessed that the overall situation was “unstable.”
“In Gaza, on one hand, we are on the verge of a conflict and on the other hand we are making efforts to stabilize the humanitarian situation,” said Argaman.
Regarding the West Bank, Argaman said, “the situation is very complex. At a superficial level, there is a relative calm, but it is deceptive and on [the feel on] the ground is very combustible.”
[Photo: כאן 11 – תאגיד השידור הישראלי / YouTube ]