JERUSALEM – In the latest indication Palestinian terror groups are seeking to launch missiles at major Jewish cities, the Israeli army today discovered a Qassam rocket in the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Today’s find follows a planned mortar attack against Jerusalem that was thwarted earlier this week and a WorldNetDaily exclusive interview in which the leader of the halted attack threatened to start a rocket war, warning his group will fire missiles at Israel’s international airport and “bring hell” to Israelis.
The Qassam missile was discovered today in the West Bank town of Kabatiya, south of Jenin, during a military operation in the area. It appeared as though the rocket recently was launched from Jenin, which borders several Jewish towns, military sources told WND.
Qassams are improvised steel rockets, about four feet in length, filled with explosives and fuel. They can travel between one and four miles depending on the sophistication of the particular rocket. Qassams lack a guidance system and are launched by terrorists who reportedly use the rocket’s trajectory and known travel distance to aim at a particular Jewish community.
More than 500 rockets have been launched at Jewish communities in and near the Gaza Strip the past five years, killing several Israelis. After Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza this past August, the terror groups’ warned they transferred their rockets to the West Bank, which borders most of Israel’s major cities.
So far, no rocket or mortar has landed at any Jewish community in or near the West Bank. Israel says at least two rockets have been launched from the Jenin area in northern Samaria. Senior terrorists from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of the long-ruling Fatah party, told WND seven rockets have been fired from the West Bank the past eight weeks.
Mortar attack against Jerusalem thwarted
Marking what many here are calling a major escalation in Palestinian terrorism, security officials announced earlier this week they captured a rocket launcher and eight mortar shells in Bethlehem intended for attack against a neighboring Jerusalem suburb. The thwarted attack was planned by the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella organization consisting of several Palestinian terror groups.
“As far as we know, this is the first time a projectile weapon aimed at targeting Jerusalem was found,” said Yuval Diskin, chief of Israel’s Shin Bet Security Services.
Abu Abir, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, told WND his group takes credit for the failed mortar attack against Jerusalem. In an interview to be released in full tomorrow, he threatened more rocket attacks.
“We call on (Shin Bet chief) Diskin and tell him not to be so happy and proud about stopping our attack because there is much more to come. The lives of Israeli citizens will turn to hell very soon,” Abu Abir said.
Terror leader: We’ll launch rocket war against Israel
Abu Abir warned his group has stockpiles of rockets in the West Bank ready to launch at Jewish cities.
“I am not going to give details (about which cities we will attack), but we are planning to be present all around the West Bank,” he said. “Every Israeli target is a legitimate target. Wherever there is an Israeli soldier or settler they will find our rockets.
“Jerusalem, Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv and every Israeli point can be part of our goals,” he continued. “Whenever it is needed, rockets will be fired against every Israeli settlement, city or neighborhood. …We know that Israeli central cities are more sensitive targets and they contain more sensitive targets, but we will not hesitate to fire rockets everywhere against the Zionist enemy.”
The Popular Resistance leader warned of a massive new wave of violence he said will soon be launched against Israel:
“The bases for rockets networks and technology are already installed in the West Bank, but their operational capacities should be ready in the next few months. Israelis should wait for a revolution very soon,” he said.
‘Third intifada on its way’
Abu Abir is one of many terror leaders to speak of major planned violence against the Jewish state. In a widely circulated article, WorldNetDaily reported last week recent events here are leading terror leaders to launch what they called a third intifada against Israel consisting of suicide bombings, rocket attacks against Jewish communities and “a few new surprises in our arsenal.”
The Palestinians launched their first intifada in 1987, which developed into a well-organized violent rebellion orchestrated by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization from its headquarters in Tunis. The so-called second intifada was initiated in 2000 after Arafat rejected at Camp David an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state on most of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and sections of eastern Jerusalem. Some 993 Israelis and 3,781 Palestinians have been killed so far. Many say the second intifada is still being waged.
Some terrorist leaders, particularly from the Al Aqsa Brigades, whose associated Fatah Party scored poorly against Hamas in last month’s parliamentary elections, say they are planning massive violence against Israeli civilians mostly to revolt against the new Hamas-controlled Palestinian government.
Abu Nasser, an Al Aqsa leader in the West Bank, told WND, “When we were in power, we were obliged to be more sensitive and more obedient to the instructions and policies of our leadership. Now that we lost the elections, why should we obey the leaders and just who do we obey? The Hamas?”
Abu Nasser said the Brigades will not respect any cease-fire agreed upon by Hamas and will not halt attacks at Hamas’ request.
Other terror leaders told WND now that acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his administration will seek an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, terrorism against Israel must be stepped up “to prove we are chasing out the Israelis like we did in Gaza.”
WorldNetDaily caught up with Abu Oudai, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader responsible for coordinating the organization’s rocket network in the West Bank. He warned his organization is preparing a massive rocket onslaught against Israel:
“We have launched [several] times and with the help of Allah we will launch these rockets regularly,” he said. “There will be no calm, no cease-fire until the occupation leaves our land. I don’t need to tell you that the aerial distance from Jenin to Netanya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities is not big without telling you what are all our plans concerning other parts of the West Bank.”
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Abu Hani told WND his terror group used a cease-fire signed with Israel last year “for a rest in order to rehabilitate forces. The Palestinian people preserves its right to fight against Israel … which is forcing us to launch a new intifada.”
Islamic Jihad’s northern West Bank leader, Abu Khalil, said his terror group is planning a new terror war to chase Israel from the West Bank and eventually from Jerusalem.
Asked by WND which weapons will be emphasized during Islamic Jihad’s next wave of terror attacks, Abu Khalil replied, “I should not answer this question for operational reasons. But we proved that we use everything Allah enables us to achieve and to use – suicide attacks, rockets and more surprises. The Israelis should wait for interesting surprises.”