Terrorists Use Social Media to Plan Attacks
By Sarah Ann Haves
After a six month wave of Palestinian terrorism, the pace of attacks against Israelis has slowed down. Part of this is attributed to a large police force working around the clock, with officers coordinating intelligence information, especially throughout the Jerusalem area. The Israeli police have stationed units in various places where there have been multiple attacks, like the Old City’s Damascus Gate. This includes undercover agents at the site, security guards, and tactical security assessments conducted throughout the day and night. Strategies include monitoring areas such as Jerusalem’s central bus station, as well as the light rail system which runs from the suburbs through downtown Jerusalem.
The Israeli police and the IDF have more of an understanding of the nature of these acts of terror and have been preventing the smuggling of weapons into Israel’s capital. Police have also managed to arrest terrorists before they are able to carry out attacks.
The most effective method of tracking terrorists has been the monitoring of social media sites which terrorists have used to network with one another and transfer details of potential terrorist operations. Statistics indicate that the attacks that occurred in the first half of March 2016 were done by pairs of terrorists and not “lone wolves.” Palestinians in their twenties are now being identified as attackers, and they are intent on carrying out lethal shootings as the current method of terror.
The Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) recently reported how terrorists used Facebook this month to plan attacks against Israelis.
|…terrorists tend to
post messages on
their Facebook page…
There is an extended process involved in the decision that a Palestinian terrorist takes to commit a violent act against citizens of Israel. According to the ITIC, terrorists tend to post messages on their Facebook page several months or weeks before they carry out an attack. A few days before a violent act, a terrorist will, likely, increase his Facebook activity, with posts indicating his desire to sacrifice his life. He may even use Islamic terminology from the Koran that deals with death, as well as the paradise that awaits him with rewards for being a “shaheed” (martyr). He may also post recorded sermons by inflammatory Islamic leaders.
A few months ago, the IDF shut down the Facebook page of Al-Huriya Radio because it encouraged Palestinian terrorism. A Palestinian that carried out a shooting attack at the Old City Herod’s Gate posted the “ten commandments for every shaheed” on his Facebook page a few hours before committing a terrorist attack. The “commandments,” written by a terrorist who carried out shooting and stabbing attacks in a Jerusalem neighborhood, were spread by social media networks.
Some Palestinian terrorists like to post pictures of Hamas martyrs on their Facebook page, and they tend to identify with and glorify those Palestinians that have been killed by Israeli security forces. In using a specific terrorist as a role model, they have an excuse to avenge his murder. The younger Palestinian terrorists act spontaneously in a desire to imitate their “heroes.”
Facebook and other social networks have become the instrument of choice for “would-be” Palestinian terrorists. Not only is this new generation of young Palestinians learning as children to hate Israeli Jews, they are growing up under the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) strategy to create young martyrs. As the ITIC points out, this strategy provides legitimacy for a type of Palestinian terrorism that is part of the so-called “popular resistance.” This “popular resistance” that once was stone throwing has now become much more violent.
are full of
Facebook pages created by would-be terrorists are full of the indoctrination of radical Islamists, including incitement to commit acts of terror; and strategies of how to carry out specific attacks. Sometimes terrorists give explicit details on Facebook on the best method of killing Jews, with advice on which weapon to use.
Facebook has been accused of being too slow to take incitement and terrorist instructions off its site. Regardless, young Palestinians continue to write their intentions on their Facebook page, and this is a tip-off to the Israeli police.
While social networks are providing a platform for anti-Israel campaigns, Palestinian leaders are encouraging the use of social media to get their ideology across… which often includes acts of violent resistance against Israelis.
Continued vigilance by the Israeli police and the IDF to monitor social media and catch potential terrorists before they commit violent acts is vital to stopping the current Palestinian Uprising. Pre-empting terrorist attacks should be a top priority for keeping peace on Jerusalem’s city streets.
Hopefully, the latest crop of Palestinian terrorists won’t figure out how and when they are being monitored. And, hopefully, they will not discover another way of communicating with one another to carry out more attacks on the Israeli population.
By what he says, the godless person can destroy his neighbor; but through knowledge the righteous escape. Proverbs 11:9
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Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.