March 2, 2005
The IDF discovered a Kassam rocket factory near Jenin Wednesday night. The rockets were to be aimed at Afula, underscoring security experts’ fears about the impending withdrawal from the Shomron.
The weapons factory was discovered by IDF forces during an operation in the Arab-populated town of Yamoun, northwest of Jenin. The factory was hidden in a secret room 15 feet below a metal works shop and contained seven pipe bombs, chemicals and explosives, as well as parts for building rifles.
The most alarming aspect of the discovery, however, was the find of a completed Kassam rocket, as well as others in various stages of preparation. Such rockets in that region would place the nearby city of Afula and the major Afula-Hadera highway within striking range of terrorists.
Security experts have warned that Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement from the northern Shomron is likely to be even more dangerous than that from Gaza. The Shomron area slated to 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 has said that the area will become “Fatah-land,” and it is warned that the withdrawal will even impair Israel’s water economy.
Territorial contiguity over such a large area, which will connect cities such as Jenin, Shechem and Tubas, will allow the terrorists to freely manufacture and transport Kassam rockets. As Gush Katif communities are endangered by terrorist rockets today, so will be Beit She’an, Afula and the Jezre’el Valley in the near future, experts warn.
Yamoun and Arab towns in the Jenin/Shechem region are slated to be handed over to Palestinian Authority control under the terms of the unilateral withdrawal. The four Jewish communities in the region are scheduled for uprooting, along with 21 communities in Gaza, this coming summer.
On Monday, IDF troops intercepted a truck-bomb containing nearly half a ton of explosives in the same region.
It was released for publication Tuesday that a Hamas cell in northern Samaria has been planning to carry out numerous rocket and mortar shell attacks on cities in northern Israel.