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Public Policy and Administration


Melanie Smith


From 2000 to 2013, Israel had the second highest number of deaths from suicide attacks and was on the list of countries that may experience increases in terrorism due to ongoing conflicts. Suicide bombings present highly complex situations for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency professionals. Using Freeman, Tucker, and Merton's framework of 9 preattack phases as the primary theoretical constuct, the purpose of this multiple case study was to explore specific patterns that consistently emerged in the adversary planning process for 6 successful or failed suicide bombing cases in Israel. Secondary, archival data were acquired through a data use agreement with a private security organization in Israel and a maximum variation sampling procedure was used to identify cases. These data were subjected to Straus and Corbin's open and axial coding procedures. Coded data were analyzed using Merriam's cross case analysis procedure. Findings indicated that although the nine preattack phases emerged in both the successful and unsuccessful attacks, they were more consistently present in the successful bombing cases. For the successful attacks, general planning, financing, and operational preparation received the most occurrences. The implications for positive social change are directed at counterterrorist decision makers and operators as focusing on the early planning phases of a terrorist attack will help them to better identify essential opportunities to prevent suicide attacks from occurring.

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