The Israel Security Agency Shin Bet prevented about 250 major terror attacks so far this year, according to the head of the agency. That’s more than one attack each day.
Nadav Argaman spoke to a group of visiting homeland security ministers, including US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirjsten Neilson, in a closed session of the first International Homeland Security Forum in Jerusalem. Details of his talk were later released to the press.
Argaman said those planned attacks included suicide bombings, kidnappings and shootings.
In addition to the threat of “institutionalized terrorism”, he said, the phenomenon of the “lone wolf” stood out in recent years.
According to Argaman, those terrorists usually imitated others, often following extremist and inflammatory discussion on social media.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CBN News that Israeli police are playing a key role in sharing intelligence and experience with the ministers at the forum.
“We’re sharing intelligence strategies, how we deal with preventing those attacks, what are the global threats that exist here in Israel, which of course are global threats that exist in Europe and other countries around the world; how we can improve transferring intelligence. because when you have strong intelligence you can prevent a terrorist attack from taking place,” Rosenfeld said.
“There’s a joint language, understanding between the ministers about what the message is (and) how we need to improve and prevent those threats from becoming real, like unfortunately we’ve experienced in Israel for many years,” he said.
Rosenfeld also confirmed that the number of terror attacks has decreased over the last year because of the way that Israel is dealing with the lone wolf attacks.
“We’ve developed strategies and implemented ways on the ground to prevent those attacks from taking place,” he said.
Sponsored by Israel’s Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan, the Forum drew ministers and deputy ministers of homeland security from about 20 countries from North America, South America, Europe and Africa.
Erdan said the forum is intended to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism, incitement, radicalization and cyber threats.
According to Erdan, there are two “defining characteristics” in the current “wave of terror”– the “central role of incitement and radicalization, especially online” and “the simplicity of the attacks carried out by individuals with easily accessible weapons and without the command and control structures of traditional terrorist groups.”
He called it “hi-tech communications’ used to carry out ‘low-tech operations.’
Erdan said terrorists conducted hundreds of serious attacks against Israel since 2015.
“In the period leading up to the outbreak of these attacks, especially in the first half year of the terror wave, we were witness to an intense campaign of online and real world incitement,” he said.
Erdan said Israel set up a team to combat online incitement using “advanced web-intelligence tools and algorithms to identify potential terrorists.” Social Media must play a part by using the same tools they employ to make money to stop terrorists.
“The World-Wide-Web must not be the Wild West,” he said.
The only way to effectively combat terrorism is for countries to work together and prevent terrorists from crossing borders, said US Homeland Security Kirjsten Neilson.
“What this means is that a terrorist in your country is virtually in mine. And we have to really think about what that means as this threat evolves. So your risk is very much my risk. My risk is yours,” Neilson said.
Neilson maintains the only way to combat the threat of terrorism is “collective defense.”
“If we prepare individually, we will fail collectively,” she told her counterparts.
“Making sure that we can block terrorists from crossing borders physically, after they have in fact crossed our borders virtually, is vital,” she added. “We must keep them out of our countries.”