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IDF Says 500 Terrorist Attacks Thwarted This Year

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

IDF soldiers seen during Operation Breakwater. Photo: IDF

The Israeli military said Tuesday that it thwarted an estimated 500 terrorist attacks since the beginning of the year, amid an ongoing wave of violence that claimed the lives of six Israelis this month alone.

The figures were shared as part of an update of the achievements of Operation Breakwater, a counterterrorism effort concentrated in the West Bank, which commenced in March 31, 2022 following an uptick in deadly attacks by Palestinian and Arab-Israeli perpetrators.

Since January, 30 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in attacks in Israel and the West Bank, according to figures shared by the Shin Bet internal security service and public data. Incidents have taken place in cities including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Haifa, Hadera, Elad, and Bnei Brak, as well as in the West Bank.

This year to date, some 3,000 arrest operations have taken place, as well as weekly searches to confiscate weapons, the IDF shared in an online blog post. This is all “in order to cut off the new triangle that is developing Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]: weapons, money, and the integration of the younger generation into the new terrorism.”

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The military pointed to high education, unemployment, and frustration among youth who grew up under the control of the Palestinian Authority. “They have easy access to forums full of incitement on social networks, and to regional terrorist organizations that take care to foster individual attacks,” it wrote.

As such, while terrorism was largely known as the domain of established and well-financed groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hamas, there is now “freelance terrorism,” in which organizations pay young people to carry out attacks, with the emphasis being on quantity, rather than quality, the military added.

Nonetheless, traditional terrorism groups still maintain sway, with some 25 percent of the population in Jenin identifying with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a further 20 percent with Hamas, according to the IDF.

The organizations, which are sanctioned in Israel and the United States, “are trying to set the West Bank on fire and see Jenin as fertile ground for this activity,” the military said.

The IDF also pointed to the success of the seam line barrier, a wall and fence spanning some 100 km (62 miles), which the military began repairing following the increase in violence. In the first week of March, more than 34,000 infiltrators were identified at the barrier, while only 475 were registered in the last week.

Commenting on the conditions that precipitated the launch of Operation Breakwater, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said in September that the increase in violence stems, in part, from the failure of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, “leading to a lack of governance in certain areas of the West Bank, which constitute fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.”

The Shin Bet recorded 2,181 terrorist incidents during the first 10 months of this year, including fire and pipe bombings, arson, assault, shootings, vehicular attacks, and more severe stone throwing attacks. The figure does not include the more than 1,200 rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip in August.

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