Lapid: Shin Bet thwarted hundreds of attacks this year, including suicide bombings

Prime Minister’s Office says security agency disrupted Hamas attempts to set up terror infrastructure in West Bank, stopping attacks planned for immediate future

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks at a event recognizing Shin Bet operations, at Shin Bet headquarters in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks at a event recognizing Shin Bet operations, at Shin Bet headquarters in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security and counterintelligence service, thwarted hundreds of terror attacks this year, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Thursday at an awards ceremony for the organization’s agents who excelled in intelligence operations in 2021.

“The Shin Bet foiled hundreds of attacks since the beginning of the year. Shooting attacks, explosives, suicide [attacks], and kidnappings,” Lapid told assembled agents and staffers from the Shin Bet and other intelligence and defense agencies gathered for the biennial event at the Shin Bet’s northern Tel Aviv headquarters.

“You are not working against a static reality, but against a changing reality,” he said.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, seven operations in 2021 were recognized in the ceremony for their “excellence, innovation, professionalism, extraordinary creativity, planning, professional and impeccable execution, and a result that has a major contribution to achieving the service’s goals.”

One operation recognized at the event involved the arrest of more than 60 Hamas members in the West Bank in late 2021, disrupting alleged plans for major terror attacks “in the immediate term,” according to Lapid’s office. Dozens of weapons and explosives were seized in the operation, which sought to crack down on Hamas efforts to build a terror infrastructure in the West Bank.

“Intelligence organizations from around the world come here regularly to learn from the Israeli Shin Bet how to fight terrorism and threats that no Western country faces. The advanced technology that is developed in the service allows the State of Israel to always be one step ahead of the enemy,” Lapid said.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid (R) and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar (L) greet a Shin Bet member during a ceremony recognizing the service’s operations, at the Shin Bet headquarters in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar praised the award recipients.

“Following these and other operations, we manage to deal with unimaginable volumes of terrorism. Thanks to the projects and operations, we will know how to deal better with new threats of terrorism and espionage,” he said.

“Behind the operations and projects there is planning, technology, and processes, but above all, there are excellent people, determined and full of ideas, and they are the ones who deserve the appreciation,” Bar added.

The awards came during a time of rising violence in the West Bank.

IDF soldiers carry out raids in the West Bank on September 8, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Based on its intelligence, the Shin Bet has been directing troops to arrest Palestinians suspected of involvement in terror activities, in nightly raids in the West Bank during a months-long operation.

The military launched the operation, dubbed Breakwater, after a series of deadly attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and the beginning of May. More than 1,500 suspects have been detained since the start of the operation.

At least 91 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far this year, according to a tally from the Palestinian Authority health ministry.

The list included Palestinians who carried out attacks inside Israel, as well as a veteran journalist — Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh, who held US citizenship and whose death was deemed an accident by the IDF on Monday — and teens who violently protested in response to Israel’s nightly military operations in their neighborhoods.

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