2017’s Terror Threat: The Lone Wolf Attacker

The Fellowship  |  April 17, 2017

A man holding a large missile in the middle of the desert.
2017's Terror Threat: The Lone Wolf Attacker

On Good Friday, a British woman was stabbed to death in the latest terror attack in Jerusalem. And while such attacks have slowed as of late, The Jerusalem Post’s Anna Ahronheim writes that this particular type of attack – by a lone wolf terrorist – is not just the new face of terrorism, but poses new and different threats to Israel and the world:

The IDF has been tackling this new threat cautiously but effectively. According to Lt. Col. Sagiv Dahan, Officer of Operations Branch for the West Bank Division who spoke to the Jerusalem Post about the threat, the army has succeeded in foiling many attacks ahead of time due to intelligence gathering and profiling.

Defense officials have set the profile of the lone wolf attacker, characterizing perpetrators of such a kind as Palestinian males aged 15-24 who come from six or seven villages in the West Bank and who target specific locations in the West Bank – the Gush Etzion Junction, Hebron, Tapuach Junction, Kikar Aryieh near Ariel and the southern entrance to Nablus- all locations which have become “symbols” of Israel in the West Bank.

While many Palestinians who fit the profile of a lone wolf attacker are inspired by what they see and read online about previous attacks or the death of a family member by the IDF, many others who have suicidal leanings or mental health problems-such as the recent attack by 57 year-old Jamil Tamimi who stabbed British student Hannah Bladon to death in Jerusalem on Friday– pose a high risk to carry out an attack…

According to another senior officer in the West Bank, the best solution to protect against a lone wolf attack is to prepare and train soldiers how to properly react. “We are always worried that someone will wake up and want to carry out an attack, we are not able to track these lone wolves with 100% certainty,” the senior officer said at his base outside the West Bank city of Tulkarem, adding that soldiers must recognize that situations can go “from 0-100” in a matter of seconds.

According to him, due to this training, the large majority of lone wolf attacks have ended in a way that the army would want, with the attacker neutralized and with no harm caused to any Israelis.

While lone wolf attacks are hard to prevent, Israeli security forces, including the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Israeli Defense Forces and police, have increased their efforts to get to the root of the problem in several different ways…