Thirteen Israelis were killed by Palestinians in 2007, the lowest number in years, according to data released yesterday by the Shin Bet security service.

The fatality figures for 2006 and 2005 were 24 and 50, respectively.

Moreover, there was only one successful suicide bombing last year, down from six in 2006 and 60 during the intifada's worst year, 2002. That bombing, in Eilat last January, killed three people.

According to the Shin Bet, the sharp decline in terror stemmed not from a drop in the terrorists' motivation, but from Israel's success in foiling attacks. This success is based on three elements: the separation fence, superb intelligence, and the Israel Defense Forces' almost complete freedom of action in the West Bank.

The data show "as close as possible to a victory over terror," a senior defense official told Haaretz. "The IDF and Shin Bet succeeded in thwarting suicide terror, reducing it to a tolerable level."

In contrast to the sharp decline in suicide bombings, however, rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza continued apace. In total, Palestinians fired 1,263 rockets and 1,511 mortar shells at southern Israel last year, compared with 1,722 rockets and 55 mortars in 2006. Rocket attacks accounted for two of last year's fatalities, both in Sderot.

The Shin Bet estimates that 80 tons of explosives have been smuggled into Gaza since Hamas ousted Fatah in the strip last June, and that Hezbollah funnels $10 million a year to Palestinian terror groups.