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New anti-Israel terror group named for Palestinian terrorist starts in Samaria

Illustrative - Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of three Palestinians killed in a raid by Israeli security forces in the West Bank village of Jaba on Mar. 9, 2023. (Photo: Nasser Ishtayyeh/Flash90)

The Martyr Omar Abu Laila Battalion, a new anti-Israel terrorist organization, reportedly has been established in Salfit, a Palestinian town in northern Samaria, also known as the West Bank.

The terror group was named to honor a Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israelis close to the Jewish city of Ariel on March 17, 2019. The terrorist stabbed Israel Defense Forces Sergeant Gal Keidan to death, took the soldier’s machine gun and murdered Rabbi Achiad Ettinger with it. 

Omar Abu Laila was later killed during an exchange of fire with IDF soldiers. 

The Abu Laila terror group issued a threat that its “soldiers were preparing many surprises that would shake the brutal [Israeli] entity.” 

Despite a commitment to formal security coordination with Israel, senior Palestinian Authority officials have praised Abu Laila, even erecting a memorial in his honor in the village of Abwein close to Ramallah, where he previously resided. 

The PA is formally responsible for security, and upholding law and order, in areas under its jurisdiction. In practice, its influence is limited and has been decreasing. Local terrorist groups have been establishing themselves in Jenin and Nablus, especially, two cities where the PA’s influence is particularly weak. 

During the past year, the Lion’s Den, a newly formed terror organization founded in Nablus, carried out a number of lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis throughout the West Bank. 

Arab journalist Daoud Kuttab has described the Lion’s Den as a small but disciplined terror group. 

“The charter of this small but apparently disciplined group states that members will keep their masks on at all times and that they will not shoot a single celebratory bullet in the air – a decision that no doubt reflects their desire not to waste ammunition. Already they have carried out a number of attacks using both guns as well as homemade explosives,” Luttab told the Al Monitor news outlet. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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