Israeli's intelligence agencies warned the government's Security Council yesterday that the country is under the threat of jihadist terrorist organizations that are recruiting ordinary-looking Americans and Europeans to carry out attacks.
The concern within the defense establishment is that al-Qaida will try to use the Westerners to enter Israel inconspicuously and then connect with local terror infrastructure that will help them carry out attacks.
One national security official doesn't believe al Qaeda's presence in and around Israel significantly alters the balance of power between the state and the indigenous terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which seek its destruction.
"I think that if al-Qaida will operate one day from Gaza I don't see a dramatic change in capabilities compared to Hamas," Colonel Shaul Shay, deputy head of the National Security Council, told a conference at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
Al Qaeda's international reach, however, does present a significant threat to Israelis and Jews abroad, he said.
Ynetnews.com also reports that "Representatives from IDF Intelligence, the Shin Bet, and the Mossad said during the discussion that global Jihad constitutes a threat to all Western countries, democratic regimes, and moderate Arab nations."