Despite a months-long lull in terror activity that has made 2013 the quietest year “in more than a decade,” the last several weeks have seen a marked uptick in nationalistic attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
“We have seen an increase in terrorist activity over the last few weeks,” Netanyahu said, speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu added that preventative measures by Israeli security agencies had allowed for 2013 to be nearly terror-free.
The prime minister’s remarks came hours after the IDF revealed it had uncovered and destroyed a 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) tunnel from Gaza to Israel, which IDF officials said was likely designed to be used in a kidnapping or attack attempt by Gazan terrorists. The tunnel terminated inside Israel proper, close to a kindergarten, and was filled with explosives, the IDF said.
Netanyahu opened his remarks by praising the IDF for finding and demolishing the tunnel.
The last few weeks have seen a number of seemingly unconnected attacks on Israelis in the West Bank.
On Friday, Seraiah Ofer, a retired IDF colonel, was killed outside his home in the Brosh Habika vacation village in the West Bank. His wife, who sustained light injuries fleeing the attack, said Ofer went to investigate some noises outside their house and was attacked and beaten to death by men wielding metal bars and axes.
Police initially said that the killing was likely a terror attack, but investigators have been probing the possibility that it was criminally motivated.
Five Palestinians were arrested after the attack.
Netanyahu, speaking on Sunday, noted that his brother Ido was friends with Ofer in elementary school and Ofer would frequent the Netanyahu home during their childhood.
On Monday, two Palestinian men were arrested in connection to an October 5 terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Psagot. In that attack, a gunman infiltrated the settlement and shot a 9-year-old girl, Noam Glick. She was lightly wounded.
In September, two IDF soldiers were killed in separate incidents. Off-duty soldier Tomer Hazan was murdered by a Palestinian coworker at a Bat Yam restaurant who lured him to a village near Qalqilya. A second soldier, Gal Gabriel Kobi, was killed by what the army said was a sniper’s shot outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.