Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that some 70 percent of those carrying out nationalistic attacks against Israelis had been killed during or in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He cited the high mortality rate as a key factor in reducing terror.
“The number of people who want to commit suicide is limited,” Netanyahu told visiting security officials. “People who did this (committed terror attacks) died, typically. They were killed. Seventy percent of the time I think, something like that. That limits the number of people who are going to do that from the start.”
Netanyahu told the International Public Security Ministers’ Forum in Jerusalem that the number of terror incidents fell dramatically since October 2015, which saw 64 separate attacks, and has remained low — usually below five a month.
On Wednesday, the head of the Shin Bet security service said Israel had thwarted 250 terror attacks since January. A day earlier, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said 200 attacks had been thwarted thanks to social media monitoring.
The forum included public security ministers from some 20 countries, including US Homeland Security Secy. Kirstjen M. Nielsen.
Netanyahu cited Israel’s culture as another key factor in thwarting terror, saying that the “courage and initiative of Israeli citizens” to tackle terrorists prevented attacks.
A wave of stabbing and car ramming attacks in 2016 saw several instances of unarmed Israelis fighting off attackers with whatever they had handy, including an umbrella, a selfie stick and a guitar. In one instance, a victim removed a knife from his neck and stabbed his assailant.
Most attacks, however, were stopped by armed citizens or law enforcement officers.
“I want you to know that the number of Israeli citizens who have weapons is about 3%, maybe 4%,” he said. “But that is enough to have them in any terrorist occurrence. And quite a few times Israeli citizens, of their own volition, sometimes armed with small weapons and sometimes with their bare arms, helped stop this as well. That is culture.”