JERUSALEM, Israel - The year-end report released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Wednesday noted that Palestinian terror attacks were significantly reduced in 2009, thanks in large part to the Israel Defense Forces.
In 2009, Palestinians fired 566 rockets on Israel, compared with 2,048 in 2008. The report attributed the huge drop in rocket attacks to last winter's military operation in the Gaza Strip.
The lion's share of attacks in 2009 took place during Operation Cast Lead - 406 of the 566 - meaning that 160 rockets were fired at Israel in the past 11 months.
For the first time in a decade, there were no suicide bombings, though Palestinians killed 15 Israelis this year, less than half in the previous year, when 36 Israelis were killed.
The latest fatality occurred last Thursday when senior members of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades gunned down Rabbi Meir Chai, 45, in a drive-by shooting in northern Samaria.
Counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) reduced attacks to 636 in 2009, compared to 893 in 2008 and 947 the previous year. The report also commended PA security forces for increased cooperation in 2009.
According to the Shin Bet, IDF troops deployed along the border with Gaza thwarted numerous infiltration attempts by armed terrorists in 2009. Troops also safely detonated dozens of bombs planted along the border.
Since Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has concentrated on strengthening its grip on Gaza, smuggling weaponry and longer-range missiles and increasing its infrastructure in civilian areas in preparation for war with Israel.
The report warned of an increasing presence of global jihadist groups in Gaza, many linked to al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile on the northern border, the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, now part of Lebanon's unity government, is building its infrastructure, weapons cache and missile inventory.
The terror group continues efforts to collect intelligence information on Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide obstensibly to avenge the assassination of senior commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February 2008, which it blames on Israel.