Vehicle as a Weapon and Bladed Weapons Attack in Israel

Jan 16, 2024 | Threat Analysis, Threat Landscape

Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 15 January 2024, two individuals conducted a Marauding Terrorist Attack through the Israeli city of Raanana. Reporting suggests that one of the individuals conducted a Bladed Weapons attack against the owner of a car and later stole the car in order to conduct a Vehicle as a Weapon attack throughout the city with the other assailant. The pair later stole two other vehicles in order to continue their attack. There was one fatality and approximately 17 others were injured.[1] Hamas reportedly praised the attack as “a natural response to the occupation’s massacres and its continued aggression against our Palestinian people”.[2]

Assessment

  • It is almost certain that there is a significantly heightened terrorism threat in Israel at this time amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. It is highly likely that there would be a heightened threat from terrorism in the long term or until a durable and lasting end to the conflict is agreed.
  • It is likely that support for Hamas has increased in the West Bank since the beginning of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. According to an opinion poll by the Centre for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, support for Hamas in the West Bank has more than tripled since the conflict in Gaza began.[3] Reporting suggests that the two individuals who conducted the incident mentioned above were from the Hebron area of the southern West Bank.[4]
    • It is likely that there is a heightened threat to UK interests and British nationals in Israel at this time, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets or allies of the Israeli state.[5] It is highly likely that any attack conducted in Israel at this time would be indiscriminate and could target areas where foreign nationals and tourists are known to be.[6]

      Terrorism Threat to the UK

        • It is highly likely that the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict would act as a driver of UK terrorism threat in the short term as individuals could become inspired or radicalised to conduct terrorist attacks in response to the current conflict.
          • Whilst Hamas has previously concentrated the majority of its activity against Israel, it is likely that there would be a heightened threat from networks and individuals associated with Hamas across Western Europe and the UK at this time. In January 2024, Danish police revealed that seven individuals linked to a foiled terrorist plot in December 2023 had connections with Hamas. In the same month, German authorities arrested three suspects allegedly plotting to target Jewish institutions in Berlin using a weapons cache from an undisclosed location in Europe.[7]
            • It is highly likely that there would be a heightened threat to Jewish individuals and businesses in the UK at this time. Since the 07 October 2023 attacks on Israel, the Community Security Trust has recorded at least 2093 antisemitic incidents across the UK up to and including 13 December 2023, and a 534% increase in anti-Jewish hate acts compared to the same period last year.[8]
              • It is highly likely that there would be an increase in Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) protests related to the Israel-Hamas conflict in the short term. Since 07 October 2023, individuals have gathered across major cities to demonstrate support for different sides in the conflict. Certain individuals have demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct highly disruptive protest action, including:
                • 2024 – London – The Metropolitan Police arrested six individuals over a plot to disrupt the London Stock Exchange. It is alleged that individuals from Palestine Action intended to target the London Stock Exchange, causing damage and “locking on” in order to prevent the building from opening.[9] The investigation remains ongoing.
              • There is a realistic possibility that hostile foreign states could seek to extend their influence in the UK to subvert and influence the country’s stability and prosperity amidst heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East at this time. For example, a UK counter terrorism source reportedly stated that they were “alive to the risk” of Iran encouraging extremist and/or terrorist activity in the UK as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues.[10]
                • It is highly likely that any terrorist attack conducted in the UK at this time would be conducted by an individual or a small cell using a low-sophistication methodology. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapons, Vehicle as a Weapon, Fire as a Weapon, etc.
                  • There is a realistic possibility that terrorist actors in the UK could have the capability to conduct a high-sophistication attack. E.g., Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or Marauding Firearms Attack. However, the complicated nature of plotting a high-sophistication attack makes it likely that there will be greater opportunity for police and security services to disrupt such plots.

                  Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 16 January 2024

                    PHIA Scale

                    The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

                      • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
                      • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
                      • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
                      • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
                      • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
                      • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
                      • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

                      Time Spans

                        • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
                        • In the next 12 months.
                        • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
                        • Long Term: 5+ Years.
                    End Notes

                    [1] Israel terror attack: car-ramming and stabbing in Raanana kills one (thetimes.co.uk)

                    [2] Israel: Woman killed, 17 hurt in suspected Palestinian car-ramming attack – BBC News; Hamas claims responsibility as ‘heroes of the Palestinian people’ kill woman in car-ramming attack (telegraph.co.uk)

                    [3] Lucy Williamson: Hamas support soars in West Bank – but full uprising can still be avoided – BBC News; Public Opinion Poll No (90) | PCPSR

                    [4] Hamas claims responsibility as ‘heroes of the Palestinian people’ kill woman in car-ramming attack (telegraph.co.uk)

                    [5] Terrorism – Israel travel advice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

                    [6] Ibid. Counter-terror chiefs on alert for Iranian activity in UK exploiting Gaza war | UK security and counter-terrorism | The Guardian; Israel-Hamas war is accelerating terrorism in UK, says Mark Rowley (telegraph.co.uk)

                    [7] Foiled Danish terror plot ‘linked to Hamas’ (telegraph.co.uk); Seven Individuals Arrested Over Terror Plots Linked to the Middle East – Pool Reinsurance

                    [8] Antisemitic incidents – 13 December update – Blog – CST – Protecting Our Jewish Community

                    [9] Six arrested over plot to disrupt London Stock Exchange | Metropolitan Police; Palestine Action is a UK protest group that uses Non-Violent Direction Action (NVDA) protest to target organisations and businesses with links to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

                    [10] Counter-terror chiefs on alert for Iranian activity in UK exploiting Gaza war | UK security and counter-terrorism | The Guardian; Israel-Hamas war is accelerating terrorism in UK, says Mark Rowley (telegraph.co.uk)

                     

                    Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
                    Threat Analyst

                    Read Time: 3 minutes

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