Senior Israeli officials said this week that they do not believe the killing of Osama bin Laden will have a noticeable effect on the security situation in the region.
"The global jihad movement is a diverse group," said Shin Bet Chief, Yuval Diskin, in a media briefing on Wednesday. "Some parts of it regarded Bin Laden as a hero and will try to carry out an attention-grabbing terror attack. We should be prepared, but we have been living with these warnings for quite a while. The benefits of killing terror chieftains are not always immediately clear," said one Israeli intelligence analyst this week, "and there are always arguments against it.
"There is the revenge factor and the fact that it will take time to see who the successor is and learn his modus operandi, but these assassinations have a cumulative effect. It seems that in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Americans have adopted Israeli tactics in their targeting of senior al Qaida and Taliban members."
The consensus within the Israeli defence establishment is that the killings of senior Hamas leaders and operatives, such as Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004, and dozens of senior and mid-level commanders over the past decade, has significantly eroded the organisation's capability to launch complex attacks against Israeli targets, and has also created a degree of deterrence.
Israeli diplomats have said that in the wake of bin Laden's death they hope that next time Israel launches "targeted assassinations" at terror operatives, there will be "less of a chorus of criticism". Israel also sought to capitalise on the condemnation of the killing by Hamas leaders in Gaza. "How can one reach peace with a government half of which is calling for Israel's destruction and even praises arch-terrorist Bin Laden," said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday after a meeting with Quartet envoy Tony Blair.