Police and Palestinians at Damascus Gate.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has thwarted some 200 terrorist attacks since the beginning of the year, 70 of them in the last two months alone, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman said at Netanyahu's cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Among those thwarted were suicide attacks, kidnappings and shooting incidents, he said.
According to Argaman, despite the relative calm, the security situation in the West bank is “fragile” and is characterized by heightened sensitivity over religious issues, such as the al-Aksa mosque.
Argaman said that there is a high level of threat posed both by established terrorist organizations, as well as by “independent actors.”
Hamas, both from its headquarters in the Gaza Strip as well as from abroad, continues to try and carry out attacks in the West Bank and inside the Green Line, in order to undermine overall stability, he said.
Argaman said that, following the shooting attack near the Temple Mount
on July 14 where two border policemen were killed, there was a threefold increase in the number of terror attack warnings compared to June. This increase, he said, was the result of a desire by terrorist elements to carry out more significant attacks, and an increase in incitement on social media platforms calling for individuals to carry out attacks.
Argaman said the security establishment was bracing and preparing for an increase in terrorist activity expected for the upcoming holiday season, as is the case every year.
Turning specifically to Gaza, Argaman said that the Strip is now characterized by a “deceptive calm” – security stability alongside an accelerated military buildup.
The three years since Operation Protective Edge
have been the quietest period in Gaza for three decades, Argaman said, with Hamas having difficulty presenting any political achievement for Gaza or providing any effective solutions to the civilian problems there.
Nevertheless, Argaman said that Hamas continues to invest considerable resources for the next battle with Israel, “even at the expense of the well-being of the civilians. The movement is already ready for another confrontation with Israel.” As a result, Argaman said, Hamas is deepening its strategic ties with the region's Shia axis, led by Iran, and is establishing an outpost in Lebanon.