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Israel: Surge in Palestinian attacks waning

After six months of near-daily violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has noted a "significant decline" in Palestinian attacks on Israelis. But he has warned that the trend could be reversed.

Speaking at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said ministers would be presented with data from the Shin Bet domestic security agency that show a "significant decline in the scope of terrorist attacks."

An unnamed senior Shin Bet official was cited attributing this trend to "extensive Israeli preventive measures" against militants, including the Islamist movement, Hamas.

During a recent surge of violence starting in October 2015, Palestinians have reportedly killed 28 Israelis and two US citizens in knife attacks, car-ramming attacks and gun assaults. The

last deadly attack occurred on March 9

, when two Palestinian gunmen shot at commuters, seriously wounding a 50-year-old man.

In December, Shin Bet counted 246 attacks against Israelis - twice the number for March.

In this wave of violence, Israeli forces killed at least 190 Palestinians, 129 of whom Israel says were assailants. Others were shot dead during clashes and protests.

According to a Shin Bet official, exposing and apprehending the "Jewish terrorists" behind the deadly attack on Palestinians in a West Bank village last year has also helped calm tensions.

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned that the drop-off in Palestinian attacks was a trend that "can be reversed."

Netanyahu made no mention of Israel's security cooperation with the administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, where much of the violence occurred.

Israelis and Palestinian officials cited a degree of security cooperation on various occasions without going into further details.

das/jlw (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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