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Daily Israel Report

Warnings Come True: Kassam Fired near Afula

Fatah said it fired a Kassam rocket last night at a town near Afula in the Jezreel Valley. The terrorists have long threatened that after Gaza, they would concentrate on attacking northern Samaria.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/12/2005, 12:08 PM / Last Update: 12/12/2005, 10:45 AM

The Al-Aksa Brigades, the military arm of Fatah, released an announcement that on Sunday evening, a Jenin-1 Kassam rocket was fired towards an Israeli community west of Jenin. The given explanation was that the rocket was fired in response to the recent liquidation of Fatah and Islamic Jihad "activists" by Israel.

Fatah is the Palestinian Authority organization headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Former IDF Intelligence analyst Yonatan D. HaLevy reports that 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 Said Awad and Kayis Adwan built a rocket factory in Shechem four years ago, and succeeded in firing several rockets from Tul Karem to Kfar Yonah. Their efforts were laid to waste in the spring of 2002, when Israel initiated Operation Defensive Shield, killed the two terrorists and many others, and destroyed the manufacturing infrastructure.

In March of this year, the IDF and the Shabak (General Security Service) discovered another Kassam manufacturing operation, in the Jenin region. The Hamas facility was hidden in a secret room 15 feet below a metal works shop, and contained seven pipe bombs, chemicals and explosives - and a completed Kassam rocket, as well as others in various stages of preparation.

The factory was located in the village of Yamoun, which came under full PA control after Israel's unilateral withdrawal last summer.

Following this summer's withdrawal/expulsion from Gaza, the terrorist organizations openly announced their intention to relocate the bulk of their terrorist efforts to the northern Shomron, from where they could fire rockets at central Israel. Two months ago, an IDF force arrested three terrorists were arrested in the Negev, near Mitzpeh Ramon. The three rocket experts had been sent from Gaza to begin the Kassam-producing efforts in Jenin, and infiltrated into Israel with the help of Egyptian policemen. They were found with technical manuals and explosives produced by Hizbullah on their person.

Security experts warned throughout the months before Sharon implemented his Disengagement Plan that the northern Shomron was likely to become even more dangerous than Gaza. The Shomron area that has now come under full PA control is some 700 square kilometers (270 square miles), approximately double that of the entire Gaza Strip.

General Security Service Chief Avi Dichter - who has since joined Sharon's Kadima party - said that the area would become “Fatah-land."