The terrorist group which claimed two recent shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers near Nablus said at a rally last Friday that “Israel only understands blood and bullets.”
Despite efforts by the Israeli Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority to eliminate the Lion’s Den terrorist group, nabbing several of its leaders over the past few months, the group has reappeared.
Fueled by and organized through social media, Lion’s Den was established in August by armed militants from different Palestinian factions – both from Fatah and Hamas along with members affiliated with Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
They hold in common the belief that the P.A. is not doing enough to prevent Israeli security forces from operating and, therefore, have pitted themselves against both Israel and the P.A., although they have vowed not to interfere with the work of the P.A.
Dozens of masked gunmen attended the Lion’s Den rally, with an estimated 50 to 70 members of the terrorist group itself reportedly participating. Members of the group are in their 20s and 30s and required to be masked at all times.
One Lion’s Den leader tweeted in Arabic: “Urgent – Occupied Palestine. In a remarkable development, the fighters of the Lions’ Den group appear in a majestic military parade in the city of Nablus after months of confrontations and battles they fought against the Zionist occupation, in which the occupier thought that he had defeated them and was about to eliminate them.”
Over the past few months, to avoid being killed or arrested by Israel, several members of the group have turned themselves in to the P.A.
Members of the Fatah movement’s Balata Brigade, which is based in a refugee camp near Nablus, also participated in the rally. Balata Brigade head Mohammed Abu Dira was recently injured in a fight with IDF soldiers near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
Abu Dira spent two weeks in a Nablus hospital under P.A. guard but was smuggled out by a group of gunmen and avoided being arrested by the P.A., which was planning to take him into custody.
Abu Dira claims he organized the rally to send a message that the Lion’s Den and other armed groups in the city of Nablus have not disappeared.
“The Lion’s Den and the Balata Battalion are fully coordinated. I was responsible for organizing the rally on Friday; we wanted to surprise everyone and show that the resistance groups are still there and are even increasing their power,” Abu Dira said.
One Nablus resident tweeted a surprised response to the large number of participants at the rally:
“The number of participants in the military parade of the Lion’s Den group this evening is double that of the previous displays. What happened tonight in the Old City of Nablus is a resounding blow to the occupation and the Oslo authority [Oslo Accords]. After they announced the dismantling of the Den two months ago and that what was left was the remnants of the organization, it turned out that it had in fact doubled its strength!” the tweet stated.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.