Saleh al-Arouri, the leader of Hamas’ military wing in Judea and Samaria, has been working to realize his vision by setting up a terrorist network in northern Samaria dedicated to producing and launching rockets towards Israel.
Established in May of this year, this Hamas-funded infrastructure is named the “Al-Ayash Battalion,” in honor of Yahya Ayash, also known as “The Engineer.”
Ayash was a terrorist leader assassinated by Israel in 1996.
While the Shin Bet has managed to apprehend some members of this terrorist network, the majority remain concealed within the Jenin refugee camp.
Despite the arrests, the group continues to manufacture and launch rockets at Israel.
To date, seven of these primitive, locally-produced “Qassam” rockets have been launched at various times.
Although these rockets are rudimentary in nature, they symbolize Hamas’ intent.
The group seeks to transfer advanced technological knowledge for rocket production from Gaza to Judea and Samaria.
Consequently, the Shin Bet predicts that it is only a matter of time before this expertise reaches Jenin, enabling the terrorist groups to produce more sophisticated rockets.
To combat this threat, the IDF and Shin Bet are heavily investing in intelligence efforts to neutralize the “Al-Ayash Battalion.”
Both Hamas’ military wing and the Islamic Jihad are striving to disrupt the existing balance of power.
They aim to open a new front against Israel from Judea and Samaria, in line with the vision of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
Their strategy involves launching tens of thousands of rockets and accurate missiles from multiple fronts, thereby tightening the stranglehold around Israel.
The resurgence of rocket launches from Judea and Samaria demands serious attention.
Previous attempts were thwarted by the Shin Bet, which remains steadfast in preventing terrorist organizations from reviving this threat against major Israeli cities.
Senior security officials caution against allowing northern Samaria to become a second Gaza Strip.
Armed terrorist groups in Samaria are already using substantial explosive charges, similar to those employed by terrorist organizations in Gaza and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Now, these groups in northern Samaria are also attempting to adopt the rocket-launching tactic.
For the Palestinians, launching rockets towards Israel marks a pivotal moment in their struggle.
They intend to capitalize on this strategy and anticipate that the IDF and Shin Bet will conduct widespread operations across Judea and Samaria to contain the phenomenon.
A significant achievement of the “Shield and Arrow” operation in Gaza was the assassination of Tarek Izz a-Din, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad responsible for its military operations in Judea and Samaria.
Izz a-Din had established a network for manufacturing and launching rockets from the Jenin area. However, the Shin Bet successfully apprehended all members of this cell before they could launch rockets towards Israel.
Izz a-Din shared a close relationship with Saleh al-Arouri, the head of Hamas’ military wing in Judea and Samaria, which contributed to the establishment of the “Al-Ayash Battalion.”
Head of the Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, regards this phenomenon with utmost seriousness.
A substantial intelligence effort is underway to locate the individuals involved in rocket production.
As previously mentioned, many are hiding within the Jenin refugee camp.
A senior security source emphasizes that the IDF and Shin Bet will not hesitate to reenter the camp to halt these activities and put an end to rocket production and launching from Samaria towards Israel.