December 30, 2022 | Flash Brief

Gaza-Based Terrorist Organizations Continue Efforts to Attack Israelis

December 30, 2022 | Flash Brief

Gaza-Based Terrorist Organizations Continue Efforts to Attack Israelis

Latest Developments

The Shin Bet stated on Monday that it prevented a “significant terror attack” earlier in December. The Shin Bet, also known as the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and Shabak, reported that Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians in the West Bank, confiscating an explosive device disguised as a fire extinguisher that the terrorists planned to detonate in an unspecified Israeli city. According to ISA, the group was taking orders from two Gaza-based terror organizations working together — the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Expert Analysis

“The Palestinian Authority has been on life support for many years. Its failure to collect taxes, violent crackdowns against political activists, and widespread corruption have been growing. In this vacuum, Palestinian terrorist organizations have enjoyed greater freedom of action.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

The Popular Resistance Committees and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

The PRC, founded in 2000 as an offshoot of Fatah, is the third-largest Palestinian terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip. The PRC has claimed credit for more than a hundred attacks against Israelis and Americans. For example, on October 16, 2003, the PRC planted a roadside bomb that struck a U.S. diplomatic vehicle in Beit Lahiya, Gaza, killing three Americans and injuring one. Despite the numerous attacks claimed by the group, the latest plot is the first time the PRC has activated a cell in the West Bank.

Like the PRC, the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, established in 2000, is active in Gaza and the West Bank. It represents one of the largest terrorist organizations in the West Bank, and has significantly contributed to the uptick in violence in the territory since last May. Since its inception, it has claimed dozens of attacks, including suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Washington designated the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2002.

A Growing Threat from Gaza

The foiled attack is not the first time this year that the Shin Bet has busted a terror cell in the West Bank taking orders from Gaza. In October, the agency arrested a Hamas cell in the West Bank — directed and funded by a Hamas militant in Gaza — that was reportedly planning to commit shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. A month earlier, the Shin Bet arrested a Hamas terror cell directed from Gaza that shot at an Israeli vehicle in the northern West Bank.

A Concerted Effort by Terrorist Groups

The uptick in violence that has occurred over the last year and a half is a concerted effort by Palestinian terrorist groups to destabilize the West Bank and undermine the Palestinian Authority. These developments warrant close attention, as the operation of key Gaza-based militant groups in the West Bank is a relatively new phenomenon, suggesting that opponents of the Palestinian Authority feel newly emboldened to advance their drive for power.

Related Analysis

The U.S. Should Sanction Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees,” by Joe Truzman

Taming West Bank Chaos Remains a Challenge for Israel,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics