IDF says ‘mock’ rocket launcher found in northern West Bank

Footage ostensibly shows single projectile being launched toward settlement of Shaked; Shin Bet recently foiled similar attempts

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

A clip circulating on social media purports to show a rocket launched from a northern West Bank village at the settlement of Shaked, May 24, 2023. (Screengrab)
A clip circulating on social media purports to show a rocket launched from a northern West Bank village at the settlement of Shaked, May 24, 2023. (Screengrab)

The Israel Defense Forces said troops located a “mock” rocket launcher in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, after footage showed Palestinians apparently attempting to launch a homemade projectile at a nearby settlement.

The IDF said the launcher was found in the village of Nazlet Zeid, west of Jenin and close to the settlement of Shaked.

The clip circulating online ostensibly showed a single rocket being launched toward Shaked. However, an explosion can be seen in or just above the launcher as it is set off, likely indicating premature detonation and an unsuccessful launch.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The IDF said the launcher was taken for further investigation.

It was unclear if an organized terror group was behind the attempted rocket launch. The defense establishment was looking into the source of the video.

Another video that circulated Wednesday showed the rocket before being launched with a note taped to the missile threatening larger attacks in the future. It was signed by “the Al-Ayyash Batallion,” seemingly named for a notorious Hamas bombmaker killed by Israel.

Earlier this month, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar said security forces had foiled attempts by Palestinians in the northern West Bank to manufacture rockets to be launched at Israel.

Bar said the efforts were led by a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, who was killed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, during a five-day flareup in violence.

“In recent weeks, [the cell] had begun producing rockets and launchers” to fire at Israel, Bar said on May 9, calling it “a dangerous precedent.”

The Shin Bet chief said members of the cell were arrested by Israel and had since confessed. “We don’t intend to let Afula… become a target for [rocket] fire,” he said, referring to the northern Israeli city.

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