Danino: Terror plots against southern Israel increasing

Police chief says weakening of Egyptian authorities being exploited by extremist elements, more difficult to coordinate security with Egypt.

September 12, 2011 14:54
3 minute read.
Yonchanon Danino

Yonchanon Danino. (photo credit: Courtesy of Israel Police )

Security forces have identified an increase in terror plots targeting southern Israel, due in part to the weakening of Egyptian authorities, police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said in Herzliya on Monday.

Danino cited “the weakness of authorities in Egypt” as a factor that is being exploited by extremist elements “to plot cross-border terror attacks on Israel.” He spoke at the 11th annual conference held by the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center’s Institute for Counter- Terrorism.

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“Currently we are seeing a lot of tension on the borders. We are identifying motives and broader-based intentions to carry out attacks against Israel. The weakened Egyptian government obviously means difficulties in coordinating security, and also the gaps in security are being exploited by terrorist elements. The last incident that occurred at the Israeli Embassy in Egypt was another example of the fragile situation,” Danino said.

The police chief describes recent acts of terrorism within Israel as “a preparation for us for further expected events.”

He noted that the police’s Yamam Counterterrorism Unit acted swiftly together with the IDF to contain the terrorists who infiltrated the country from Sinai and murdered eight Israelis north of Eilat last month, adding that the swift response “saved the situation, despite the fact that lives were lost.”

Danino cited instability in Syria as another explosive situation that has “its own implications for the complex and already delicate situation in the Middle East.”

Addressing the looming UN recognition of a Palestinian state, Danino said he expected Israeli Arabs and Palestinians “to demonstrate in support of a declaration.

“In such a case, I will order police to act with demonstrators in the same way they acted with housing protesters – with patience and sensitivity, while encouraging dialogue to prevent a deterioration,” he said.

At the same time, he stressed, “Any violation of the law or public order, or any sign of violence, will be dealt by us immediately and without compromise.

“September poses a new kind of challenge for the Israel Police. Every incident such as this as an explosive potential and the police must plan out its moves wisely.”

On Sunday, police held a drill in southern Israel in which major disturbances were simulated and responses to them were evaluated.

The exercise contained a number of scenarios and was held to test the police’s readiness for mass riots.

The Abraham Fund, which works to improve relations between police and the Arab community, welcomed Danino’s words.

“These are important comments that should be welcomed,” the fund said, adding that it hoped they would have an impact on the ground.

The fund also asked members of the Arab community to “realize the democratic right to peaceful and lawful protest.”

Police have in recent years set up 16 special command centers around the country that are tasked with training and mobilizing riot police and ensuring that disturbances are quelled swiftly, without the use of deadly force.

Each command center is in charge of 300 officers, creating a national response force of 4,800 officers ready to deal with large disturbances.

The riot police force is backed up by 2,000 additional officers who are being trained as a reserve anti-riot force.


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