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Is Hamas producing weapons in the West Bank?

Israel is concerned by discoveries of large weapons workshops and militant cells over the past year in the West Bank.
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The wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that began in October 2015 has greatly receded. The most recent ones occurred Dec. 30, when a girl attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia military checkpoint near Ramallah; Jan. 3, when two Israeli soldiers were wounded by a driver who ran over them near the Jalama checkpoint, north of Jenin; and Jan. 8, when four more soldiers were killed in a truck attack in Jerusalem. These types of attacks have been accompanied by a gradual increase in the use of firearms, including a Dec. 19 incident in which an Israeli settler was shot and wounded near the Beit Aryeh-Ofarim settlement.

On Dec. 21, the Israeli army announced the discovery of a large weapon mill in Hebron capable of producing a variety of arms. The Israeli army is currently investigating possible connections to Hamas. The workshop contained 12 lathes and hundreds of weapons and combat gear. The Israelis also discovered equipment used to manufacture knockoff versions of US-made M-16 rifles and sniper rifles, a first in the territories, and unfinished Russian rifles capable of hitting targets at 600 meters (656 yards). Earlier in 2016, the army had discovered an armory of 40 lathes for arms production and confiscated 420 weapons and assorted gear.

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