Fatah rocket production in full swing in Gaza
Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades show off munitions factory replenishing missile stocks for future war with Israel
Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.
Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, said it is producing more rockets and munitions to restock supplies that were consumed during the summer war in the Gaza Strip.
Last week, a reporter from Russia’s RT television network was given a tour of a rocket manufacturing site somewhere in the Gaza Strip. A video of the visit, with English subtitles, was published on YouTube by Palestinian Media Watch on Monday.
The RT reporter met with masked Fatah workers who were seen mixing rocket fuel and explosives in a saucepan heated with an open gas burner. In the small, windowless, facility, several rockets and mortars bombs could seen stacked up against a wall decorated with a poster featuring former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
“We are preparing and developing rockets in the productions division of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades,” one of the workers told the reporter. “During the last war we fired rockets at the Zionist enemy, we have notified the enemy that we have many more [rockets]. We have also successfully developed the K-132 rocket, which is here beside me.”
It was not clear whether the reference to a K-132 rocket indicted a new weapon or one that has already by fired at Israel in the past.
Fatah is the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, though its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, has been designated a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the European Union for carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians.
In July, Fatah’s armed wing in Gaza joined Hamas and Islamic Jihad in firing rockets at Israel during the seven-week-long Operation Protective Edge.
Over 4,500 rockets were fired at Israel’s towns and cities during the conflict, which ended with a ceasefire signed on August 26. The IDF launched intensive airstrikes at rocket launching sites and production facilities throughout the fighting.
Palestinian sources claimed some 2,100 people were killed in the fighting, while Israel said about half of those who died were combatants. Israeli casualties included 66 IDF soldiers and six civilians.
Israeli and Palestinian representatives are to gather in Cairo on Tuesday for talks on a long-term ceasefire agreement that the Palestinians intend to include an easing of the blockade on the coastal enclave. Israel is expected to seek steps towards disarming Hamas and reestablishing elements of Palestinian Authority control in Gaza, as well as the return of the remains of two IDF soldiers killed during the fighting.