Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Terrorists funded by Iran have increased attempts to attack Jewish targets
around the world in the past year, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram
Cohen told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on
Pointing to Iran as the main channel for attacks, Cohen
explained that only a fraction of attempts on Jewish lives internationally have
The Shin Bet, Mossad and IDF intelligence worked
together, “connecting bits of information until we were able to act and block
the organization [of attacks],” Cohen said.
Cohen also cited Iranian
agents training operatives in Gaza, which he called “a giant arms
Hamas has about 8,000 rockets in Gaza with a range of 4 to 40
km., as well as 15,000 operatives, he said. Islamic Jihad has 5,000 fighters,
some trained by Iranians entering Gaza, while others travel abroad to learn
terror attack strategies.
“Libya is the new gate to hell,” Cohen added,
referring to large amounts of shoulder missiles and rockets smuggled from Libya
into Gaza. So many weapons are brought into Gaza that they have caused a
“flood,” he explained, to the point that they lowered the price of
According to Cohen, Hamas does not intend to use its extensive
weaponry in Gaza to conquer Israel, rather to increase its deterrence so the
defense establishment will weigh its steps before acting.
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The Shin Bet
head also described a burgeoning Gazan weapons industry, developing rockets with
a longer range. A large lathe, used to manufacture rockets, was recently brought
At the same time, Cohen said, “the Shin Bet has hundreds of
quality targets in Gaza, based on high-quality intelligence. The day we receive
the command, we can attack them from air or land.”
“If we do not take out
terrorism in Gaza, then in the future we will meet the same capabilities, but in
larger numbers,” he explained. “The question is not whether to act against
terrorism in Gaza, but what will be the other side’s reaction. There is a
fear that many citizens will be sent to shelters.”
President Mahmoud Abbas realizes that his power is limited in Gaza because of
Hamas, Cohen stated, adding that the possibility of reconciliation between Fatah
and Hamas “looks further than ever.”
Cohen pointed to a rise in terrorism
coming from Judea and Samaria, mostly using rocks, knives and similar weapons.
Hamas is the dominant terrorist organization in the region.
In the past
year, 28 kidnapping attempts were thwarted, with at least 18 coming from Hamas
The PA opposes violence and works against terrorism by
“calming and warning,” but not arresting attackers or putting them on trial, he
explained. If they receive a concrete warning from Israeli intelligence, they
attempt to stop the attack.
Egypt has a major governability problem in
Sinai, Cohen added, and has an interest in working with Israel to get rid of
terrorism in the area.
“Terrorist organizations are not interested in
facing us directly, so they send rockets from Sinai to Eilat,” Cohen stated. “If
the Egyptians do not take care of terrorism, we will have a very complex
The Shin Bet chief briefly mentioned the issue of Africans
illegally entering Israel, saying that no terrorist activity by migrants has
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