Shin Bet used technology and AI to find Raad Hazem

Israeli security forces were tasked with finding the terrorist who opened fire on a busy bar in Tel Aviv, before evaporating, in other words a difficult mission.

Their first advance took place when Raad Hazem was noticed on the images filmed by the surveillance cameras as he walked towards the Ilka bar, shortly before killing three people and injuring a dozen.

But the footage was otherwise too blurry to give a clear picture of the man they were chasing to the hundreds of Israeli police, military and Shin Bet agents.

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And that’s where the Shin Bet technology team stepped in to help shed light on Hazem’s features and better identify him, a Channel 12 report aired Friday night.

The agents thus used a combination of information gathered by intelligence, photo processing technologies and artificial intelligence to develop an image that could be used by the security forces.

The report also noted that it was possible they used facial recognition technology and pre-existing photographs of Hazem – who, however, the media said had no criminal record in Israel and was unknown to authorities.

A photo released by police showing the suspect in a deadly terror attack in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2022. (Israel Police)

Once the blurry, grainy image was transformed into a clear photograph, it was quickly distributed to everyone who took part in the manhunt.

Hazem, from Jenin in the northern West Bank, died in gunfire with officers from the Yamam counterterrorism unit, which is part of the Israel Police, and members of the Shin Bet security services . He was finally located near a mosque in Jaffa, in a place where he had been hiding.

According to the Shin Bet, Hazem had “no clear organizational affiliation”.

According to Israeli media, Shin Bet agents had gone to the mosque to search the area.

Ra’ad Hazem, 29, from the Jenin area was the terrorist who carried out a fatal shooting at a Tel Aviv bar on April 7, 2022. (Courtesy)

Once there, they found an individual whose behavior seemed suspicious and who matched the given description of Hazem. Two officers then got out of the vehicle, asking the man to surrender.

Initially raising his hands in surrender, Hazem then allegedly drew a gun and opened fire on the officers, who returned fire and killed him.

“After a long night of difficult activities for the police, the Shin Bet and the Israeli army, we managed this morning – thanks to operational and intelligence cooperation – to come full circle and kill the terrorist during of an exchange of gunfire,” Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said Friday morning.

“We stressed last night that regardless of how long it might take, we would find the terrorist dead or alive,” Shabtai added. “And when we found him this morning, it only took the quick reactions of the Yamam unit and the Shin Bet in Jaffa.”

“We worked on two main trajectories – the operational trajectory and the intelligence trajectory – and they both allowed us to end this continuous operation this morning,” he continued.

The Channel 12 report on Friday also revealed that the Shin Bet believed Hazem was planning another attack, citing the fact that he had ten bullets left in his gun when he was killed. Other television reports claimed that he simply wanted to return to Jenin.

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