In-Depth Studies

Anti-Israel Terrorism from the Palestinian Authority, 2023

In 2023 there was a significant increase in the extent of terrorism and violence, with 179 critical terrorist attacks carried out, compared with 86 in 2022; Twenty-seven were carried out on Israeli territory (16 in 2022); 43 people were killed, 37 civilians and six members of the security forces, compared with 30 killed during 2022; Shootings were prominent, with 108 attacks which accounted for about 60% of the total number (46 in 2022); There were also 35 stabbings, about 19% of the total; 20 vehicle ramming attacks, about 11% of the total; 5 IED attacks and 5 combined attacks. There were also several thousand incidents in which rocks were thrown and several hundred in which Molotov cocktails were thrown, but not all were documented. Due to the Gaza Strip War (Operation Iron Swords) which broke out on October 7, 2023, the summary of 2023 was released considerably late and in an abbreviated format, and does not include terrorism from the Gaza Strip.

Summary of ISIS Activity around the Globe in 2023

In 2023, there was a sharp decline (about 50%) in the scope of ISIS’s terrorist activity around the world compared with 2022. The downward trend in the volume of activity had continued since 2020, however, 2023 saw the sharpest decline; ISIS’s activity continued to be focused on Africa, while in Syria and Iraq, ISIS’s core countries, the scope of activity was low; In Afghanistan’s Khorasan Province, there was a 75% decrease in activity and a 50% decrease in casualties compared with the previous year, but the lethality of the attacks increased; The characteristics of ISIS’s terrorist activity in 2023 were similar to those in 2022: The vast majority of terrorist attacks were carried out by relatively small squads, usually equipped with light and medium weapons, and by detonating IEDs. The terrorist attacks carried out by the organization’s operatives in Africa, especially in the Sahel region, were on a larger scale and caused many casualties, albeit less than in 2022; Although ISIS seems to have suffered defeats in most of its provinces of activity (except Africa), it seems that the idea itself persists and that the radical Sunni ideology is still trying and will try in the future to spread its message and gain supporters in countries around the world, including Western countries, by exploiting various events to attract the Muslim population to the idea of the Islamic State.

Palestinian Activity in Jenin in Reaction to the IDF Presence in Judea and Samaria

The Jenin refugee campis controlled by military-terrorist wings, led by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Jerusalem Brigades, and has become a center for terrorism in Judea and Samaria. Their activities include the recent attempts to shoot at Israeli communities near the border and attempts, so far unsuccessful, to manufacture rockets and launch them into Israeli territory. The refugee camp, with its various resident terrorist organizations, operates as one organism and is almost independent; the Palestinian Authority (PA) has virtually no presence or influence in the camp. The Jenin refugee camp is unique in its militancy and organized offensives against Israeli security force activity. The opposition to the Israeli security forces of the Jenin refugee camp inspires the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. This report investigates the recent events in the Jenin refugee camp and presents information about the methods used by the terrorist operatives; their intelligence and operations, including the development of operational capabilities and weapons; improvement in the ability of their monitoring units to alert the camp to the entry of IDF forces and their locations; the fast, capable identification of the IDF units and even their ability to identify IDF special forces (such as undercover and intelligence units); monitoring the types of weapons the IDF forces use; etc.

The Pro-Iranian Militias in Syria

Syria is the geographical center of the Iranian-controlled radical axis and the arena where pro-Iranian militias operate, some of them brought in by Iran and others formed locally by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. They have one main purpose: to ensure the continuation of Bashar Assad's regime, accomplished on the pretext of "defending the Shi'ite shrines." The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 and was won by the forces supporting Assad, who continues his efforts to stabilize the government institutions and rebuild his army. The pro-Iranian militias serve as another tool for establishing Iranian strategy in Syria and Lebanon. Today there are more than 60,000 operatives in the pro-Iranian militias, deployed in several areas, the most important of which are along the Euphrates, in and around Aleppo and the greater Damascus area, and in the depths of the Syrian desert and the southern part of the country. There is a particularly great concentration of militias in eastern Syria, an area of such great strategic importance it has been referred to as an Iranian colony. It is an overland corridor used to transport weapons from Iran through Iraq to Syria, and from there to Lebanon, bolstering the military buildup through local weapons manufacture. The main purpose of their presence in the Syrian desert is to secure vital facilities and defend them against ISIS attack, while in the south and around Damascus they have made connections with the local Syrian communities. Since the middle of 2021, and with greater intensity since the beginning of 2022, the pro-Iranian militias have expanded their presence to other areas in Syria. Some of the changes in eastern and southern Syria were apparently the result of Russia's withdrawing its forces[1] and the attempts of the militias to avoid Israel and American attacks. Of all the militia forces and armed groups operating in Syria under Iranian aegis, Hezbollah-Lebanon poses the greatest conventional military threat to Israel. The organization's operatives are constructing a system for collecting intelligence along the Golan Heights border, which is meant to serve as a base for planning attacks orchestrated by Iran, which aspires to preserve the "resistance axis," threatening Israel through proxy organizations. The militias are part of Iran's overall intervention in Syria to increase its sphere of influence and establish a permanent presence, ensure the continuation of Syrian dependence on Iran and gain a foothold in the Levant, in addition to its unreserved support of Hezbollah-Lebanon.

An organization named the Galilee Forces – Lone Wolves claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack at the Megiddo Junction

A terrorist network calling itself the Galilee Forces – Lone Wolves claimed responsibility for the IEDs attack at the Megiddo Junction on March 13, 2023. The claim of responsibility was published on the network's Telegram channel and had texts and videos under its name and logo. The claim of responsibility also relate to previous attacks allegedly carried out by the network's operatives. One was the shooting attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem on March 6, 2008. Very little is known about the organization except for the few bits of information issued by the media.

The Houthi Movement and the War in Yemen: Development and Significance

The Houthi movement was established in Yemen in the early 1990s, based on Shiite Zaydi Muslim residents, who make up about 30% of the country’s population. In 2004, the movement mounted a rebellion against the central government in Yemen because it had become too closely affiliated with the US and Israel. Until 2009, six rounds of fighting between the parties took place, at the end of which the Houthis established autonomy in northern YemenIn the ITIC’s assessment, the Houthis have weapons that can harm Israel, and in the past, senior Houthi officials even made statements about a willingness to do so if Israel posed an immediate threat. The potential threat to Israel from the Houthis exists, but for now, in the Israeli context, the Houthis are mainly engaged in statements of support for Hezbollah and the Palestinian terrorist organizations and providing financial aid to these organizations for the fight against Israel.

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