Palestinians launched two rockets toward sovereign Israel from the Jenin area on Monday morning, the IDF reported. They landed inside Palestinian Authority territory without hitting any Israelis or Israeli locations. It was the first time a rocket was fired at Israel from the West Bank in 18 years.
One of the rockets fell five meters from the launch area, and the other landed 80 meters away, the IDF said. Although a review of the wreckage found that the rockets were full, no explosive materials were found in the wreckage.
This suggests that either the rockets were a publicity stunt or a test run that was not meant to explode. As of press time, it was unknown if those who carried out the launches had more rockets or explosive materials.
Broadly speaking, the rockets were found to be of a primitive design, the IDF said.
The rockets did not pose a threat to Israeli communities in the area, it said, although it was unclear if this was because they lacked the range to strike them or because of other issues.
Israeli security forces arrived at the scene and conducted searches in the area. They have not yet reported any arrests.
The incident was under review, the military said, without giving specific information about who carried it out or how similar future incidents would be prevented.
There was another recent incident when a dummy rocket was being prepared to potentially be fired at Israel or at least threaten it, the IDF said. Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Director Ronen Bar recently warned that Palestinian terrorists were making renewed efforts to acquire rockets in the West Bank and fire them toward Israel.
If the terrorist groups succeed, it could represent a whole new front for Israel’s rocket defense, which is currently deployed to defend against rockets from Lebanon or Gaza but not the West Bank.
Last week, there was a drastic escalation in Palestinian terrorist attacks, the use of force by the IDF and revenge attacks by settlers in Judea and Samaria.
'Will Jenin become Gaza?'
Likud MK Danny Danon on Monday criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the party’s faction meeting.
“I saw a report by the IDF spokesman that a rocket had been launched from Jenin this morning,” he said. “Last week, four Jews were murdered, and we haven’t seen any reaction yet. What are we waiting for? That Jenin will become Gaza?
“We know that there are standard plans to deal with the worsening security chaos in northern Samaria,” he said. “Why is it not being approved at the political level? The residents of Samaria will not be sitting ducks.”
Oved Nur, head of the Gilboa Regional Council, on Monday said a faction of Hamas near Jenin had published a disturbing video in which rockets were fired and aimed toward the Gilboa Regional Council’s towns.
National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz, in remarks directed at Netanyahu, said: “In the whole issue of fighting terrorism, you and the government have full backing so long as you act responsibly and decisively. The rocket firing today in Jenin is escalating, and terrorist organizations are becoming bolder.
“As we did against the Lions’ Den, as we always did when terrorism reared its head, we must remove the threat – by any means, with any force required and wherever it is required. The security of the citizens should be the top priority.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi commended the brigade commanders serving in the West Bank, “who are fighting terrorism and physically risking their lives every day. They are also at the forefront when it is necessary to prevent harm to Palestinian residents that would be, unfortunately, at the hands of Israeli citizens. Both of these tasks serve the security of the country and its citizens.”