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PA Sources: We Fired Rockets at Afula Area

Palestinian terrorists again say they fired Kassams at central Israel - this time at farming communities just south of Afula. The last time they claimed this, it took 3 weeks for the IDF to confirm.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/11/2006, 6:24 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2006, 11:35 AM

IDF sources are investigating terrorist claims that they have succeeded in firing two Kassam rockets at the Jezreel Valley last night. The PA terrorists say they have photographic evidence of such, but the IDF has not yet seen any evidence of the launch.

This past December, the Al-Aksa Brigades of Fatah reported they had fired a Kassam at a town near Afula in the Jezreel Valley. It took a full three weeks for the IDF to confirm that the attack had taken place. Gilboa Regional Council head Danny Atar complained at the time that he had not been informed of the attack in real-time, and was forced to learn of it three weeks later via the media [despite the timely Arutz-7 report - ed.].

Security experts had warned before the Disengagement that the unilateral withdrawal from northern Samaria would allow terrorists to develop Kassam-rocket capabilities against central Israel.

Ynet reported today that Jordan, too, is concerned about the reports of Kassam-launching capabilities in Samaria. Jordan's King Abdullah reportedly invited PA chief Mahmoud Abbas earlier this week for an urgent briefing about Hamas progress in developing Kassam infrastructures.

The Palestinian terrorist organizations have been working fervently over the past number of years to build a rocket-firing infrastructure in the northern Shomron. Hamas terrorists built a rocket factory in Shechem nearly five years ago, and were able to fire several rockets from Tul Karem to Kfar Yonah. The IDF later destroyed the infrastructure and killed the terrorists involved. A year ago, another Kassam manufacturing operation was discovered in the Jenin region - but it was not reported destroyed before its address came under full PA control after last summer's Disengagement.

Several months ago, an IDF force arrested three terrorists in the Negev who had been sent from Gaza to initiate more Kassam-producing efforts in Jenin. They were found with Hizbullah-produced technical manuals and explosives on their person.

On Sunday night of this week, the PA terrorists announced they had fired 1-3 Kassams from a Tul Karem-area village, east of Netanya, towards the Jewish community of Avnei Heifetz. Other reports have also been received of terrorists' attempts to fire rockets in the Shomron.

Warnings
Three months before the Disengagement, in May 2005, GSS (Shin Bet) head Yuval Diskin warned the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee not only of the likely ascent of Hamas, but also of the possibility that terrorists might start firing missiles into Israel from northern Samaria.

“Northern Samaria without the IDF," Diskin told the committee, "means terror and the firing of missiles” at Israeli targets. It would leave the IDF without “an effective method of fighting terror in the region.”

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Yaalon has also recently warned that if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert succeeds in his plan to withdraw unilaterally from much of Judea and Samaria, a strategic threat will be created against Jerusalem, Ben Gurion International Airport, and Tel Aviv.