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J-Post: Shin Bet probes ‘settler rocket fire’ near Nablus

By Yaakov Katz and Tovah Lazaroff

To view original article, published by the Jerusalem Post on 22nd July, click here

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) was looking into Palestinian claims on Monday that settlers from Har Bracha and Yitzhar in the West Bank fired two rockets into fields near Nablus.

This burnt cylinder, which Palestinians claim is a homemade rocket, was found in a field near Nablus on Sunday.

A picture of the “rocket” provided by a left-wing activist and obtained by The Jerusalem Post shows a burning metallic cylinder lying in a field near Nablus.

The Shin Bet said it could not confirm what the cylinder was and raised the possibility that settlers had fired a homemade rocket or that Palestinians had discovered an old military shell and set it on fire.

One of the two projectiles landed in a field near the villages of Awarta and Odala, Hani Dalrashi of Awarta told the Post. He said it was the fourth time that settlers had fired rockets at Palestinian villages south of Nablus.

Last week, the police arrested a settler from Yitzhar for allegedly participating in a failed rocket attack against the Palestinian village of Burin in June. Settlers from Yitzhar and Har Bracha rejected the claim that members of their community were firing homemade rockets at the Palestinians.

But Dalrashi said he had been standing at an auto mechanic’s garage in the village when someone came to say that a rocket had fallen just outside the village. He went to explore and found a 45-centimeter cylinder that was smoking on one end. Although he and others in the village called the army, he said, they did not arrive until 4:30 p.m.

Dalrashi’s story was confirmed by Israeli volunteer Nur Bar-On of Machsom Watch, which monitors IDF activity at the checkpoints. She said she had arrived at the Hawara checkpoint at about 1:20 p.m. Palestinian taxi drivers told her about the rockets, and she asked one of them to take her to the one outside Awarta.

Bar-On found the metal cylinder lying in a field, with smoke coming out of it.

“It looked dangerous,” she said.

Bar-On discounted the IDF claim that it was an old military shell, saying there was no Hebrew writing on it and typically such shells have some kind of a mark that identifies it as belonging to the IDF.

She believed it was a homemade device. A similar rocket also fell Monday in Burin, she added.

To view ISM report on the incident click here