The head of the Shin Bet security service, Nadav Argaman, on Sunday morning told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that behind the relative calm of recent months hides a more realistic picture in which Hamas has being investing a great deal of effort to carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria, attacks which the Shin Bet has so far managed to thwart in 2017.
“It should be said that the terror threshold and the scale of the attacks we have experienced over the past year have declined, compared to the previous year, and the number of foiled attacks has increased,” Argaman reported.
“This year we thwarted 400 significant attacks, including 13 suicide attacks, eight kidnapping attempts, and 94 martyrdom attacks. We have thwarted 1,100 potential attacks by isolated terrorists, while 54 attacks by lone terrorists have succeeded this year, compared to 108 last year, the Shin Bet chief said.
“In all, the scope of the targeted killings is impressive,” he noted, but added that this also illustrates “the extent of the terror that is bubbling under the surface.”
“The relative quiet we experience is misleading,” Argaman warned the committee. “Under the surface, the situation is sizzling. Hamas is trying with all its might to carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria, to undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”
Referring to the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet chief said that the reality there is “more challenging than ever,” and it is still unclear what will come out of the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah.
Argaman said that the Shin Bet has greatly increased its activities in cyberspace, “both defensively and offensively, both in counter-espionage and in the prevention of terrorism.”
“This is an opportunity to thank and note the extraordinary activity of the men and women of the service, who, together with the IDF and Israel Police, spend days and nights securing the citizens of Israel.”
As to the near future, the Shin Bet chief said that “the coming period will be very challenging. I mentioned the significance and implications of the Palestinian moves, the unrest on the ground, the incitement of the Palestinian Authority getting people out [to riot] in the streets, the Gaza Strip with the Reconciliation Process – they all promise a very unstable period in the coming half year for sure.”
“I very much hope that we will come through it successfully,” he said.