Furthermore, the attack wasn’t carried out by a lone-wolf terrorist, but by a local cell of three terrorists, who were not known to authorities but did participate in popular terror activity in the Ramallah area. It was carried out with simple weapons like an improvised ‘Carlo’ machine gun and knives.
The Shin Bet could have been expected to thwart this cell before it hit the road.
On the other hand, in light of the recent series of terror attacks that have hit the world over the past few months, the Shin Bet and IDF’s prevention operations could be appreciated even more: In 2016 alone, 186 shooting attacks were thwarted and 114 local cells were arrested.
Their failure to thwart this attack, however, should also be put into proportion in light of their accomplishments in thwarting many other attacks, because the relative calm Israel has been experiencing is false and misleading: Below the surface, there is a lot of activity going on, particularly on Hamas’s part, which is trying to get cells to carry out revenge attacks for the alleged Israeli assassination of Mazen Fukha, a Hamas commander who was gunned down in Gaza in March.
Furthermore, the improvised machine gun used in Friday’s attack points to the terrorists’ difficulty in getting hold of standard weapons and to the success of the increasing Israeli operations against lathe-shops operating in the West Bank.
The main challenge at the moment is to get through Ramadan, which is considered a period of high tensions that often lead to attacks, by boosting the prevention and intelligence activity. This is what the Shin Bet has been doing—focusing its efforts on copycat attacks that multiply as soon as they succeed.