This report prepared by the Israel Security Agency summarizes the data and major trends that characterized Palestinian terror in 2007, particularly following the Hamas takeover of Gaza.

 Palestinian Terrorism in 2007

 

Home damaged by Kassam rocket, Sderot, July 2007Photo: Reuters

This past year brought significant changes that affect the entire region. The most conspicuous was Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, which altered the reality in the Palestinian arena by creating de facto two separate Palestinian entities in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Despite the changes in the Palestinian arena and Hamas’s takeover, we were witness in 2007 to a continuation of the substantial reduction in the number of suicide attacks, and as a result, in the number of persons killed. This reduction resulted primarily from the combined efforts of the Israeli Security Agency, the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israel Police.

In 2007, there was one suicide attack (in Eilat, on 29 January), in which three Israeli civilians were killed. The suicide terrorist came from the Gaza Strip via the "Hai Route" (Gaza > Sinai/Egypt > Israel), and was dispatched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. In 2006, by comparison, there were six suicide attacks.

The terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria failed to carry out a suicide attack this year (in 2006, they carried out four such attacks). Also, there was a drop in attempts to carry out terrorist attacks that were actively interdicted. In 2007, 29 terrorist attacks were interdicted, compared to 37 in 2006. It is important to note that, of the attacks that were actively interdicted in 2007, six were suicide attacks planned to take place inside Israel.

During the past year, the Gaza Strip became the primary "manufacturer" of terror, based on all relevant parameters: number of attacks, the vast majority being high-trajectory gunfire from the Gaza Strip (although of a lesser magnitude than in 2006), number of persons killed in the attacks (the only suicide attack in 2007 originated in the Strip), and also number of alerts.

In Judea and Samaria, on the other hand, though no decline in motivation was discerned, the volume of terror fell, primarily a result of Israeli preventive action. This year, too, the terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria sought to obtain operational capabilities with respect to rockets – primarily under guidance from Gaza. Also prominent this past year was the "awakening" of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, with many of its actions being uncovered and interdicted.