|A mass of green: Not Gaza but Hamas supporters rally during
student elections on the campus of Birzeit University, near Ramallah
April 26, 2016 [Image Source: AFP]
Hamas along with some of its smaller terrorism counterparts in Gaza have been transferring much of their focus and energies to the West Bank and expanding their malign influence and operations there. This emerges from a reported delivered by the Shin Bet’s head, Nadav Argaman, to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday (Monday). He was named to the post almost exactly a year ago.
These reports are a yearly event, and closely analyzed. From Times of Israel‘s summary:
Hamas has “significantly increased its efforts to advance terror attacks in the West Bank and Israel,” Argaman said, referring specifically to mass-casualty attacks. “Hamas has found itself in strategic distress and is interested in undermining the security situation in the West Bank through bombings,” he said. To thwart those attempts, Israel has stepped up its crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, arresting 1,035 suspected members. Some 114 terror cells were also broken up in 2016, as opposed to 70 the year before — a 62 percent increase, Argaman said.
Some 184 shooting attacks, 16 kidnapping attempts and 16 suicide bombings were thwarted by the Shin Bet in 2016, as were 84 other assorted attacks, mostly stabbings and car-rammings, he said. These figures did not include attacks prevented by Israel’s other security services, like the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police.
Some additional sound bytes from yesterday’s briefing:
- “We’re approaching the Passover holiday. There is no question that the terror networks, particularly Hamas, will try to escalate the situation and carry out terror attacks.” [Israel National News]
- “Since October 2015, the Palestinian Intifada has sacrificed 256 martyrs and claimed 40 Zionist occupation settlers. Most of the Palestinian martyrs were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, while others were killed during protests in clashes or Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.” [Al-Manar, a terrorism-friendly Hezbollah affiliate which broadcasts news by web and TV from Lebanon]
- “[D]espite the appearance of relative quiet, Hamas and jihadist groups are trying to mount terror attacks in Israel every day… Argaman said the region is undergoing geopolitical change that will reveberate for years to come, including the implications of the Iran nuclear agreement on terrorism in the Middle East [Haaretz, yesterday]
- “…the quiet that we’re now experiencing – the relative quiet – is deceptive, a false quiet. Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror infrastructures worldwide are working every day to commit terror attacks… [Israel National News]
- “Over the past two-and-a-half years, the terrorist group [Hamas] has been rearming in preparation for future conflict with the Jewish state…” [Times of Israel]
- Over the past year, 16 Israelis and one foreign citizen were murdered in terror attacks inside Israel. [Israel National News]