JERUSALEM – Palestinian terror groups have a new rocket named after late PLO leader Yasser Arafat that is capable of reaching Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a senior terror leader involved in rocket-making told WorldNetDaily, warning his group’s missiles will be launched regularly from Judea and Samaria into major Israeli cities.
“Our new rocket, called Arafat 1, will prove to the Israelis that Arafat’s spirit is still alive and that he is continuing to fight them and hit them even after his disappearing,” said Abu Oudai, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades responsible for coordinating the group’s rocket network in Judea and Samaria.
Judea and Samaria are referred to by some as the West Bank, the name coined for the area by Jordan after it annexed the territories in 1948.
The Al Aqsa Brigades was founded in 2000 as the military wing of Arafat’s Fatah party and has carried out scores of suicide bombings, shootings and rocket attacks from Gaza.
Palestinian terror groups have launched hundreds of Qassam rockets from Gaza into nearby Jewish communities the past few years but largely have refrained from firing rockets in Judea and Samaria, which are within range of Israel’s major cities. Also roughly 200,000 Jews live within Judea and Samaria.
Qassams are improvised rockets that can travel approximately three miles. Some have traveled further. Israeli officials repeatedly have warned a rocket attack from Judea and Samaria would be met with a large-scale military response.
Israel last week announced a rocket was fired from northern Samaria, claiming it was the first-ever launching from the area. It said the weapon was a Jenin-1, a less advanced rocket that can travel about one mile. Israeli Defense Forces military censors had delayed publication of the incident for three weeks. The IDF did not carry out a large-scale retaliatory raid in response to the rocket firing.
Oudai told WND his group already has fired six rockets – not one – from northern Samaria.
“[The rocket in the news last week] was not the first time we shot rockets from Jenin to the settlements of the enemy inside the green line. It is the enemy who for the first time has admitted that these rockets exist in [Judea and Samaria] and that they were shot against Israeli targets. We have launched six times and with the help of Allah we will launch these rockets regularly and there will no calm, no cease fire until the occupation leaves our land.”
Israeli security officials confirmed to WND at least three rockets so far have been launched from northern Samaria.
Oudai said his group’s new Arafat-1 rocket is stockpiled in Judea and Samaria for future use and is the most advanced Palestinian rocket yet, warning it can hit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“The Arafat can reach every goal we want all over the enemy state. … I don’t need to tell you that the aerial distance from Jenin to Netania, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is not big without telling what are all our plans concerning hitting Israeli settlements [in Judea and Samaria]. We can reach any point inside Israel, but I will not mention what are the regions we are ready to shoot from.”
Israel has warned terrorists are attempting to transfer rockets from Gaza to Judea and Samaria. It has arrested several Palestinians attempting to infiltrate northern Samaria with rockets, sparking fears the rockets will become the new strategic weapon for Palestinian terror groups, frustrated over their admitted difficulty in carrying out suicide bombings due to Israel’s uncompleted security fence.
The IDF has not been able to stop the rockets regularly fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli Negev towns. It previously responded with surgical missile strikes and artillery fire at areas it says are used to launch rockets. Last month, Israel set up a buffer zone in sections of Gaza occasionally used to fire rockets into Israel, but the Palestinian terrorists shifted their launching sites to other areas and have continued the attacks.
Asked if he fears Israel’s threatened massive military response to his planned rocket firings, Oudai told WND, “Israel already has used all its tools. Tanks, aircrafts, assassinations and everything it could use. But we are still here and still fighting. We do not get excited from the Israeli threats. What can be this unprecedented reaction? They have already tried everything.”