RAMALLAH, West Bank — Thirteen alleged members of the Lion’s Den terror group have handed themselves over to Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank in recent days, a Palestinian security official said Wednesday.
The Lion’s Den — or Areen al-Ossud in Arabic — emerged late last year in the city of Nablus in the north of the West Bank as violence surged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Made up of young Palestinian men, it has earned a daring reputation in repeated clashes with Israeli soldiers which have claimed the lives of some of its fighters.
The security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the 13 members had “turned themselves in to the security establishment to protect themselves and to be integrated into the security establishment and end their case with the Israelis.”
“All this was done by their own will, and most of them wanted to turn themselves in after talking with the security forces,” the official told AFP.
The official confirmed recent media reports that Uday al-Azizi, one of the group’s leaders, was among those who had turned themselves in.
Last month, the Lion’s Den said in a Telegram post that it carried out an extrajudicial killing of a “traitor” in Nablus’ Old City.
Israeli forces have killed multiple Lion’s Den fighters in recent months as part of an ongoing anti-terror campaign.
In February, an Israeli military raid in Nablus killed 11 Palestinians, the deadliest single operation by Israel in the West Bank in nearly two decades.
The army said it was an operation based on intelligence of an imminent threat from Lion’s Den terrorists.
The Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks targeting Israelis in the West Bank, including the killing of a soldier in October.