West Bank yeshiva student fires crude rocket

Od Yosef Hai student reportedly aims for Palestinian village, but rocket lands in open area; none hurt.

A student from the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva built a crude rocket and fired it from a nearby hill at a Palestinian village in the West Bank, security officials said Friday. No one was wounded. Among those suspected of involvement in the incident was the yeshiva's head, Rabbi Itzik Shapira, Ma'ariv newspaper reported. Members of the 'rocket launching cell' reportedly tried to cover up their actions, and several minutes after they fired the rocket they told residents of the Yitzhar settlement, where the seminary is situated, that an experiment was being carried out and not to be alarmed when they heard an explosion. The rocket - which consisted of a launching device, a pipe and explosives - landed in an open area between Yitzhar and the Palestinian village, meters away from a Breslov Hasid, who happened to be praying there. After the loud explosion, a large number of IDF soldiers arrived at the scene, concerned that a terror attack had been perpetrated. However, the troops discovered that the rocket had been fired from the Yitzhar area and not from Palestinian territory. When the IDF Central Command was informed that the rocket had been fired by Jews, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Judea and Samaria Police opened an investigation. Police spokesman Danny Poleg said Friday that detectives searched Yitzhar and questioned residents but made no arrests. Ma'ariv said that the student allegedly learned how to make the rocket on the Internet. Detectives were trying to find out who provided the explosives and who else was involved in the incident. According to Ma'ariv, yeshiva heads immediately expelled the student responsible. The yeshiva is strongly affiliated with the extreme Right and some of its students were among the 20 people police banned from Judea and Samaria about a year ago. The yeshiva's president, Yitzhak Ginsberg, has written a book in praise of Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein. AP contributed to this report