JERUSALEM — While Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip have been contending with almost daily missile attacks, Palestinian rockets will now also be launched regularly on the other side of the country aimed at Jewish communities a few miles from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Abu Oudai, a chief rocket coordinator for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Judea and Samaria told WorldNetDaily in an exclusive interview.
Abu Oudai claimed major Israeli cities and the country’s international airport would eventually become Palestinian rocket targets, particularly following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s planned withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria, which borders Israel’s main population centers.
Judea and Samaria is also commonly called the West Bank.
Abu Oudai said his group has the ability to produce rockets in northern Samaria – a claim denied by the Israeli army. He hinted at possible help in developing rockets from Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.
“Our goal is to cover all Israeli regions and to bring them inside the distance of our rockets,” said Abu Oudai, speaking from Nablus in northern Samaria.
“Every Israeli site or city is inside our capabilities and if some sites are not yet they will be very soon. The Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem every site and city will be targeted. We are speaking about a new era in the conflict between us and the enemy.”
The rocket master’s statements follow a series of claims by the Al Aqsa Brigades of firing rockets the past few days from the northern Samaria towns of Telkarem and Jenin targeting Jewish communities nearby. Brigades leaders called WorldNetDaily to take credit for the rocket launchings, which they said fell short of their intended goals, landing instead in Palestinian areas. They promised more missile firings.
Security officials say any Judea and Samaria missile attack would open a whole new front of rocket targets against Jewish communities in the territories and against neighboring cities, including Jerusalem.
The Israel Defense Forces has not yet officially confirmed this week’s claimed northern Samaria rocket attacks. Palestinian and Jordanian officials said the attacks indeed took place.
The Al Aqsa Brigades has the past few months previously claimed they fired rockets from northern Samaria. The IDF denied the claims only to later release select information stating some rockets had been fired from the area.
Security analysts maintain publicity about terror groups’ current missile capabilities in the territories could generate criticism of Olmert’s Judea and Samaria withdrawal plan.
Abu Oudai said the missile firings from Telkarem and Jenin were “only the very beginning of our blessed operation of launching rockets from the West Bank against Israeli cities. In the next days and from now on the falling of rockets in the enemy territory [in and near the West Bank] will not be strange and rare.
“In a previous interview with you we promised that the next stage of our struggle in the West Bank will be characterized by the shooting of rockets.”
Israel minimizing Judea and Samaria rocket threat?
The Al Aqsa leader described his Judea and Samaria rocket infrastructure:
“With the help of Allah we succeeded to transfer rockets and technology that will bring in the very next days the number of rockets in the West Bank to hundreds. As for the kinds of rockets, they are very similar to the rockets in Gaza but here in the West Bank we are making huge efforts to improve them, especially their accuracy and distance.”
He said his group has stockpiles in northern Samaria of primitive versions of the Qassam rocket.
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
The IDF says terror groups abilities to produce rockets in Judea and Samaria are minimal.
But Abu Oudai rejected the Israeli statements, claiming his group “absolutely” has the ability to manufacture Qassams and other kinds of rockets in northern Samaria.
“The Israeli army said a few years ago that Gaza rockets are nothing and that they don’t present any threat to the security of Israel and its citizens,” Abu Oudai said. “Now we all know what is the truth and what is the real situation. Every day our rockets in Gaza become more accurate and do more killing and this is exactly what will happen in the West Bank.
“It is their own business that they deny and minimize. But in the coming days the proofs on the ground will be very clear to the average Israeli in the street and not only to the Israeli political and military leadership.”
Abu Oudai, though, admitted to problems with his group’s Judea and Samaria rocket infrastructure.
“We have the capabilities of producing the rockets in the West Bank and we are also smuggling from Gaza, but I will be honest and sincere with you that our weakest point is the lack of experience in the West Bank. But we are working very hard to solve this problem.
‘No fear’ of Israeli retaliation
Asked if the Al Aqsa Brigades received any outside help to its missile development program, Abu Oudai explained, “It is our right to receive any help from anybody and our doors is open to every support, from Syria, Iran, Hezbollah or anyone who wants to help and to support the Palestinian people.”
Prior to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza last August, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threatened an “unprecedented response” to any rocket firing carried out by terror groups after Israel vacated the territory.
For the past ten months, until Israel sent ground troops into Gaza last month, the Israeli army mostly responded to the regular rocket attacks with aerial and artillery fire, failing to stop or even slow the rate of rocket attacks.
Abu Oudai said he does not fear Israeli retaliation for his group’s planned rocket launchings from Judea and Samaria.
“I heard many time the expression of unprecedented response. The only unprecedented thing is the frequency of the Israeli ‘empty threats.’ We are not afraid and we have nothing to fear,” said Abu Oudai.
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