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Diskin: International Internet Terrorism an Increasing Threat

Shabak Chief Yuval Diskin at First International Conference for Homeland Security in Tel Aviv: “Internet terrorism is growing, but can be fought.”
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/1/2010, 1:23 PM / Last Update: 11/1/2010, 2:54 PM

Israel news photo

Yuval Diskin, head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shabak or Shin Bet), took part in the First International Conference for Homeland Security in Tel Aviv today (Monday). He spoke of recent successes in the war against terrorism, and the terrorism dangers presented by the internet.

“Israel’s security forces have succeeded in dealing with two main waves of terrorism,” he said, “and prevented 120 suicide bombing attacks. The network of checkpoints that we have established on the roads has given us the ability to collect intelligence and stop terrorists on their way to a target.”

Regarding the dangers and threats of the 21st century, Diskin said: “ The new technological developments give everyone instant availability. Most unfortunately, the same technologies that enable astonishing jumps in communications, world economics, and social networks also enable the terrorist organizations to upgrade their capabilities.”

He noted how Hamas and Islamic Jihad are able to work internationally: “Based in Gaza, they acquire arms and combat materials from Iran, Korea, and other countries, via Suda and Yemen, from where they are smuggled into Gaza via Egypt. At the same time, those terror organizations send people via Egypt to Iran, where they train and are assigned terrorist missions.”

“Thus, the terror organizations in Yemen [where Al-Qaeda is headquartered – ed.] and Iran bring their capabilities to Gaza. In addition, there is cyber-terror activity, via which young terrorists are recruited and trained via the internet… They surf to specific sites, are brainwashed by Al-Qaeda operatives, and receive instructions as to how to deal with elements such as the organization that I head.”

Ending on a more optimistic and practical note, Diskin said, “We can fight these capabilities, and even win – but to do so, there must be a new, globally-integrated international strategy. We must share the great amounts of knowledge that the various countries have amassed, and we must cooperate in intelligence, developing technologies, high-level operations, and a legal framework that will allow the democratic countries the means to fight terrorism.  I believe that this is definitely within our means.”