Israel sees 1st significant rise this year in terrorist attacks

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The number of terrorist attacks recorded in Israel increased last month by almost 30 percent over September —  the sharpest rise recorded in any given month over the past year.

The Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, recorded in October a total of 153 attacks with nmearly a third occurring in Jerusalem compared to 109 attacks in September, according to the organization’s monthly report, which it published on its website earlier this week.

The 29-percent increase in attacks — the largest since the near-tripling of incidents recorded in October 2015 — owed partly to a near doubling of incidents in the Israeli capital from 26 in September to 48 last month.  The October tally for Jerusalem has more than tripled since August, when only 13 attacks were recorded in the city.

The attacks last month resulted in two fatalities and 23 injuries among victims, according to Shin Bet. Both killings occurred on Oct. 9 during a drive-by shooting ion the West Bank, in which 10 people were injured. Despite the rise it constitutes, the tally for October is still lower than the average of 170 attacks per month over the past year.

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Shin Bet reports do not include in its reports dozens of incidents of rock throwing that occur every month, mainly in the West Bank.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, more than 275 individuals have died during the wave of unrest starting from Oct. 1, 2015, including over 235 Palestinians, many of whom were killed while perpetrating attacks. During that period, attacks caused the death of more than Israelis and five foreign nationals — two Americans, one Eritrean, one Sudanese, and one Jordanian.

In September, October and November, Shin Bet recorded 223, 620 and 326 attacks respectively, in what Israeli Prime Minister called a “wave of terror.” Many of the perpetrators said they acted in defense of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, which Palestinian media reported were under attack by Israel, though the Jewish state and international observers denied such actions.

The volume of terrorist attacks has gradually decreased after reaching its peak in November 2015. The lowest figure recorded since the escalation was in August, with 93 incidents.

On Thursday, a protest march commemorating the 12th anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat erupted into clashes with Israeli forces as the demonstrators headed to the Ofer detention center. Four Palestinians were injured and two were detained, according to Ma’an.