2007: Shin Bet sees drop in terror attacks but more use of rockets
Security forces say that while terror groups were only successful in carrying out one suicide bombing in 2007, they were able to fire over 1,200 Qassam rockets at Israeli targets. Gaza become the focal point of Palestinian terror this year, but organizations there are working tirelessly to aid their counterparts in the West Bank
The annual Shin Bet security report released on Tuesday shows a continued decline in the volume of suicide bombings inside Israel during 2007 but warns of a sharp increase in rocket attacks over the course of the year.
The decrease in suicide bombings was primarily attributed to improved cooperation between the IDF and Israeli police forces.
The Shin Bet successfully thwarted 29 terror attacks in 2007; six of these were attempted suicide bombings inside Israel.
The study reported several significant changes in the region, with Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip reigning as the most influential of these.
There has also been a notable increase in incidents of smaller-scale attacks against Israelis, with more Molotov cocktails and rocks being thrown at cars traveling throughout the country.
Gaza: Hamas growing stronger
Terror organizations fired more than 1,200 rockets towards Israel this year, killing two civilians and wounding 300 more, though the majority of these were shock victims. Only 800 of the total number of rockets fired made it across the border into Israel.
Meanwhile a total of 220 Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism were arrested by security forces in Gaza this year. The army also uncovered 12 tunnels in Gaza – four of these leading towards Israeli territory.
The Shin Bet's analysis of the current situation indicates that Hamas has vastly improved its ability to function as a structured military outfit. This is attributed to the training undergone by its members in Iran.
Trainees are smuggled out of the Strip into Egypt and from there sent to various instructional facilities. They then return to Gaza with enhanced capabilities and expanded knowledge, which they pass on down through Hamas' ranks.
Organizations such as the Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) were also noted as being responsible for numerous terror attacks.
There has also been a rise in attempts to smuggle terrorists into Israel in comparison to 2006. The report points to an Islamic Jihad attempt to smuggle two Palestinian women into Israel to carry out suicide bombings. The women were arrested at the Erez border crossing before they could exit Gaza and confessed they had planned to carry out simultaneous attacks in Tel-Aviv and Netanya.
Israel's defense establishment maintains that terror groups are working vigorously to arm themselves following the disengagement. Hamas, in particular, has managed to smuggle some 80 tons worth of explosives across the Gaza-Egyptian border.
West Bank: 60% decline in suicide bombing attempts
Though there were no suicide attacks emanating from the West Bank in 2007, three terrorists were able to successfully infiltrate into Israel, though they were apprehended before they could carry out their intended attacks.
However, says the Shin Bet, this is not to say that terror groups are not still trying to target Israelis.
Some 4000 terror operatives were arrested in the West Bank between January and October 2007. Of these 117 were potential suicide bombers. But the triple-digit figure is somewhat encouraging as it shows a 60% decline in the number of potential bombers.