An analysis of three years of suicide bombing data in Israel reveals an increase in such attacks through March 2002 followed by a steep decline through the end of 2003. The authors propose a terror-stock model that treats the suicide bombing attack rate as a function of the number of terrorists available to plan and execute suicide bombings. The intent of Israeli tactics such as targeted killings and preemptive arrests is to reduce the capacity of terror organizations to commit attacks. When fit to the data, this model suggests that the targeted killing of terror suspects sparks estimated recruitment to the terror stock that increases rather than decreases the rate of suicide bombings. Surprisingly, only the deaths of suspected terrorists, and not Palestinian civilians, are associated with such estimated recruitment. Although Israeli actions have reduced the rate of suicide bombings over time, it is preventive arrests rather than targeted killings that seem more responsible for this outcome.
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Document Type: Research Article
Yale School of Management and Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
United Nations Studies Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
May 1, 2005
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