Since the beginning of the current escalation of violence, there have been 13 attacks committed by pairs of terrorists from the West Bank or East Jerusalem. This trend is slowly beginning to challenge the perception that attacks are mainly carried out by "lone wolves" - single attackers - who go out to commit an attack without telling anyone of their intentions in advance.
More pairs of terrorists carry out attacks than before
Two or perhaps three terrorists committed the attack on Wednesday night in Har Brakha, while two others - Labib Azzam and Muhammad Zaghlawan, both 17 year old students from the Palestinian village of Qaryut - committed the attack at the Eli settlement earlier in the day.
IDF and Shin Bet forces are still searching for the two attackers from Har Brakha, who stabbed two IDF soldiers at a military post and escaped - likely towards the nearby village of Burin. Roadblocks have been set up around villages and locals are being questioned by security forces, who are searching vast areas in the countryside.
According to witnesses, the two infantrymen who arrived at the area a few days ago with their company were unarmed when they were found wounded. Their brigade commander is expected to investigate the incident Thursday morning to determine whether the two infantrymen left their rifles in their positions, a fact which may have been exploited by the terrorists who attacked the soldiers and escaped unscathed.
This attack took place half a day after two terrorists carried out an attack in the settlement of Eli. Those two terrorists, who have expressed solidarity with Hamas, were shot dead by IDF forces. An Israeli was lightly wounded in the attack.
Terrorists who go out in pairs to carry out attacks work in a more deliberate manner and not from a momentary desire or on impulse. The fact that the terrorists carry out attacks together increased, in some cases, the deadliness of the attack, such as the attack on the bus at the Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiot) neighborhood in Jerusalem, when Baha Alyan and Bilal Ranem from Jabel Mukaber killed three Israelis, or the attack by terrorists Ibrahim Alan and Hussein Abu Ghosh, who murdered Shlomit Krigman in Beit Horon, and the three terrorists from Qabatiya who murdered Border Police officer Hadar Cohen in an attack at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
An analysis of the terrorists' profile shows that what they all have in common is their youth, and in many cases they were from the same village, and mingled with each other. For example, the three terrorists from Qabatiya were good friends and carried out the attack to avenge the death of one of their friend, who was also killed during an attack attempt at the Jalama checkpoint forty days earlier. The three used to meet every Friday at their friend's grave and apparently it was this weekly meeting that led them to the decision to carry out a joint terror attack.
In some cases, these are two family members who decide to carry out an attack, like Hassan and Ahmed Mansara, cousins from Beit Hanina in north Jerusalem who carried out the attack in Pisgat Zeev, and Muawiyyeh and Ali Alkam, two cousins who ran away from their school in Shuafat to carry out an attack inside a light rail car in the capital.
It is possible that most of the terrorists who operate in pairs are seeking to make it harder for Israeli forces to locate potential attackers, as most terrorists so far committed their attacks on their own.
It also appears that the funerals for terrorists constitute both the basis and the catalyst to bring together Palestinians who want to commit an attack as revenge. This is also why many of the terrorists are relatives or close friends of other terrorists killed shortly before them. These "revenge terrorists" have often been photographed at funerals or memorials to their friends or relatives.