Netanya bombing 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced an end to their self-declared truce of January 2005, under which they pledged to refrain from attacking Israeli targets, an annual summary of terror activities for 2005 released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Sunday revealed that a total of 2,990 attacks were launched against Israeli targets. The attacks occurred after the truce was announced the report stated.
According to the report, motivation among all the terror groups to attack Israel remains high with the number of monthly terror alerts averaging 57.
There was a significant decrease in the number of Israeli fatalities stemming from terror attacks in 2005 with 45 Israelis killed, a 60 percent reduction from the 117 Israelis killed in such attacks in 2004. Twenty-three of the fatalities in 2005 were killed in seven suicide bomb attacks. There was also a 30% decrease in the number of Israeli casualties in attacks during 2005 with 406 Israelis wounded compared with 589 the previous year.
Yet, in 2005 there was a significant increase in Kassam rocket attacks on Israel with 377 recorded, compared with 309 in the previous year. At the same time there was a decrease in mortar shellings with 848 launched in 2005 compared with 1,231 in 2004. There was also a drop in bombing attacks with 199 recorded in 2005 compared with 592 in 2004. A total of 1,133 shooting attacks were carried out by terror groups in 2005 compared with 1,621 in 2004.
In 2005 security forces arrested 160 potential suicide bombers in raids in West Bank villages and towns, 59 affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, 29 with Hamas, 47 with Fatah Tanzim, 14 with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and 11 with other terror groups.
There was a drastic drop in terror attacks launched from the Gaza Strip last year, with 1,205 attacks carried out in 2005 compared with 2,637 in 2004.
With the IDF pullout from the Gaza Strip in September 2005 - and especially after Israeli troops no longer maintained a presence on the Philadelphi corridor between Egypt and Rafah - terror groups succeeded in smuggling vast quantities of explosives and weaponry into Gaza from Egypt, the report noted. The Shin Bet estimated that over five tons of explosives, 200 anti-tank grenades, 350 anti-tank rockets, and a number of antiaircraft missiles were among the arms smuggled from Egypt to terror groups in Gaza during September 12-18 alone.
Terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip continued to strengthen their capabilities in preparation for the renewal of violence. Despite assurances by Palestinian security personnel that they were preventing the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, in many instances members of the Palestinian security forces received bribes in order to "turn a blind eye," the Security Agency said.
The fact that a number of antiaircraft missiles have reached the hands of Gaza terror groups is cause for concern the report stated. Not only does their presence threaten military and civilian aircraft operating in the Gaza area but it had the potential of growing into a far more dangerous threat if the missiles reached terror groups operating in the West Bank said the Shin Bet.
In 2005 there was also a significant increase in attempts to smuggle potential suicide bombers and terrorists from Gaza into the Egyptian Sinai area via the Philadelphi corridor. With the assistance of operatives in Egypt and Beduin criminal elements living in the Negev, organizations launched a number of attempts to smuggle the terrorists into Israel.
Terror groups operating in Samaria were responsible for four suicide bomb attacks in Israel in 2005, claiming the lives of 21 Israelis, compared with two attacks in 2004 in which 14 Israelis were killed. According to the Shin Bet, terror organizations continued to take advantage of areas where the security fence has yet to be constructed to dispatch suicide bombers.
Jerusalem and the Judea district were the main dispatch points for potential bombers into Israel. In addition, terror groups recruited Israeli citizens to their cause, using drivers who normally smuggled Palestinian workers into Israel to transport bombers through checkpoints. Examples cited included the suicide bomber recruited by Islamic Jihad in Tulkarm who blew up in Hadera in October 26. The lack of a complete security fence in the Jerusalem area allowed the bomber to be transported from Jerusalem to Jiat and from there into Israel. The suicide bomber recruited by Hamas, who blew up in Beersheba on August 28, was smuggled into Israel from the southern Hebron Hills where the security fence has yet to be built.
The report noted that since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000 and through July 2003 - when construction on the security fence began - terror organizations in Samaria launched a total of 73 suicide bomb attacks in Israel in which 293 Israelis were killed compared with 11 suicide bomb attacks in which 54 Israelis were killed since.