The Shin Bet has foiled some 250 major terror attacks so far in 2018, the organization’s chief, Nadav Argaman, said at an event sponsored by the Defense Ministry discussing terror held Wednesday. More than 400 Arab terrorists who planned or attempted to participate in the attacks have been arrested as well, he said.
The attacks could have been very damaging had they not been interdicted, Argaman said. Among the plots were attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians, shooting attacks, suicide bombings, and other attacks that Argaman declined to discuss in detail. One of the triggers of terror, he said, were riots by Arabs to events on Har HaBayis. “These riots generally lead to waves of terror, usually isolated terror incidents in Yehudah and Shomron,” Argaman said. “These attempted terror attacks usually follow on the riots in a very short period of time.”
“Lone wolf attacks” have become the dominant kinds of attacks in recent years, Argaman said. “Many of these attacks are attempts to imitate others who have done similar things, and many of them are unplanned, triggered by incitement and radical talk on social networks.” The Shin Bet has invested a great deal of effort in developing ways to monitor this data, including using advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to “prevent terror attacks before they can take place,” Argaman said.
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last December, Argaman said that in 2017 the organization prevented 400 major terror attacks planned by terror groups by Hamas, and about 1,100 by lone wolf terrorists operating alone.