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IDF finds 'mock' rocket launcher in northern West Bank, arrest terror cell

Demonstration of a homemade rocket launcher (Photo: Screenshot)

The Israel Defense Forces discovered a “homemade” rocket launcher on Wednesday in the northern West Bank village of Nazlet Zeid, close to the Jewish settlement of Shaked.

The discovery came after videos had shown Palestinians seemingly attempting to launch a homemade rocket at the small village of some 1,100 Jewish citizens, but the rocket appeared to detonate prematurely.

Another video showed the rocket with a note written in Arabic attached, threatening larger attacks: “Al-Ayyash Brigade, launch of a Qassam 1 rocket on the Shaked settlement, Wednesday, May 24. The next rocket will be bigger.”

The Al-Ayyash Brigade is affiliated with the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization and is allegedly named after  Hamas’ chief bombmaker, who was assassinated by Israel in January 1996.  

While it is not clear exactly who was behind this week's homemade rocket launch, earlier this month Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) Chief Ronen Bar said Palestinians in the northern West Bank had tried to manufacture rockets and that Shin Bet foiled those attempts.

Bar confirmed that those efforts were led by a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, Tareq Izz ed-Din, who was reportedly killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip in an airstrike.

“In recent weeks, [the cell] had begun producing rockets and launchers” to fire at Israel, Bar confirmed on May 9, adding that it had created “a dangerous precedent.”

The Shin Bet chief confirmed that members of the cell were arrested by Israel and had since confessed.  

“We don’t intend to let Afula… become a target for [rocket] fire,” he said, referring to the northern Israeli city.

At the time, Bar said another planned attack against Israel using drones had been foiled in central West Bank city of Ramallah and that Palestinian Islamic Jihad was “fully funded by Iran.”

“The hands are Palestinian, but the voice is Iran’s,” Bar stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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