The Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues efforts to assemble rockets in the West Bank.
Israel’s military has found a Fatah explosives laboratory and two rockets in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. The military reported the arrest of two Fatah operatives — identified as Tahar Amar and Hassan Ufi — and accused them of being responsible for the laboratory.
“The Fatah people were financed by Hizbullah,” a military source said.
The sources said Hizbullah supplied funds and directions for rocket strikes against Israel. They said Fatah tried to launch at least one rocket.
The arrests took place on September 1 by the Israel Security Agency and the border police. The sources said the Fatah operatives were preparing to fire two rockets into Israel.
Tulkarm, at the edge of the West Bank, is located about 13 kilometers from Netanya, a major Israeli city. Tulkarm has been a haven for Fatah and Islamic Jihad insurgents.
In July, a Fatah-financed cell was accused of attempting to fire rockets from Tulkarm. One rocket was said to have exploded during launch.
In another operation, the Israel Air Force struck Al Atatra and Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. The military said the targets were buildings used for the storage of weaponry.
“Terrorist organizations operate from within the civilian population, while cynically exploiting uninvolved civilians and using them as human shields, exploiting their homes to store weaponry and launching rockets at Israeli towns from populated areas,” the military said.
PALESTINIAN GROUP WARNS OF MORE ABDUCTIONS Non-Muslim foreigners have been warned to stay away from the Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian group asserted that it would kidnap and kill non-Muslim visitors to the Gaza Strip. The group, Holy Jihad Brigades, claimed responsibility for the abduction of two journalists for a U.S. television news network in August.
“Infidel blood will not have any sanctity,” the group said in an August 27 statement.
In August, the group abducted a correspondent and cameraman for Fox News. The two were held for two weeks and released under heavy Palestinian Authority pressure. Nobody has been arrested.
Holy Jihad Brigades also warned of killing non-Muslim visitors in an attempt to free Muslim prisoners in Western jails. The statement said the exceptions would be visitors who converted to Islam or were ransomed.
On the eve of their release, the two Fox News personnel released a video in which they announced that they had converted to Islam. Later, one of the journalists, Steve Centanni, said he was forced at gunpoint to make the statement.
“Nothing but Islam gave their blood sanctity and prevented their slaughter,” the Palestinian group said. “We are not the sort of people who are fooled. But only God knows intentions.”