Shin Bet thwarted over 450 terror attacks in 2019, chief says
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Shin Bet thwarted over 450 terror attacks in 2019, chief says

Head of the security service credits advanced technology with helping prevent attacks and allowing Israelis to live ‘full, comfortable lives’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Head of the Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset on November 6, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Head of the Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset on November 6, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security and counterintelligence service, said Thursday that his organization had thwarted over 450 significant terror attacks in the previous year.

“In the past year, we have thwarted over 450 significant terror attacks, and we have allowed Israeli citizens to have full and comfortable lives in the day-to-day without knowing what’s going on underground,” Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman said.

Argaman credited these successes to specialized technologies used by the service, its cooperation with other Israeli security forces and its “synergy with our counterparts around the world.”

The Shin Bet chief made his remarks at the UVID International Conference and Exhibition on Unmanned Vehicles in Tel Aviv.

“Israeli technology and the [defense] industry are always close to us, close to our hearts. We purchase Israeli technologies before [buying] from anywhere else,” Argaman said.

“We are investing in very advanced technology,” he added.

In addition to an extensive network of informants and other conventional intelligence-gathering techniques, the Shin Bet has long been known to use advanced algorithms to scan social media and other databases for indications of terrorist activities.

Israeli security technology has come under fresh international criticism in recent weeks, following a report by the American NBC News last month on a Microsoft-funded startup that carries out surveillance on Palestinians in the West Bank on behalf of Israel.

Last year, the Shin Bet was credited with foiling some 500 terror attacks.

“You have thwarted 500 terror attacks this year,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at an awards ceremony at the Shin Bet’s northern Tel Aviv headquarters.

“That’s an incredible number. It means that hundreds of Israeli citizens owe you their lives. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to shine this light, and for fighting each day with discretion, ingenuity, creativity and immense dedication,” the prime minister said at the time.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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