Three Palestinians were reported killed and nearly 20 more injured as heavy fighting broke out in Nablus during an apparent Israeli raid on the Lion’s Den terror group early Tuesday morning.
Heavy gunfire could be seen and heard in videos shared on social media after a large convoy of troops was seen entering the city shortly after midnight.
Explosions were still being heard as of 2:45 a.m. and a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was making an “urgent” attempt to intercede.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers surrounded a building in the northern West Bank city where senior members of the Lion’s Den terror group had been holed up, according to unverified reports in Hebrew and Palestinian media.
According to some reports, Israeli forces fired anti-tank missiles at the building as well as small-arms fire during intense exchanges of fire.
The Palestinian health ministry said three people were killed and 19 more injured in the fighting, including three people in critical condition.
Media reports named two of the fatalities as Hamdi Sharaf and Ali Antar.
Nablus right now!!
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Members of the PA’s security force were apparently caught off guard by the raid and opened fire at the Israeli troops, who shot back, resulting in injuries, according to Palestinian reports.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement that the PA president was establishing “urgent contacts in order to stop this aggression against our people” in Nablus.
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The Israeli military confirmed only that forces were operating in Nablus.
It said it would later send an update on the raid, which came a day after another member of Lion’s Den was killed in a mysterious explosion attributed to Israel.
شاهد| قوات الاحتلال تقتحم شارع الباشا بنابلس pic.twitter.com/8W2YLoJUL0
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) October 24, 2022
Israeli forces have waged a several-week campaign against Lion’s Den, a new group made up of members of various other terror factions that had become known for carrying out brazen attacks on soldiers and settlers near Nablus in the last month. One soldier was killed in those assaults.
Lion’s Den reportedly confirmed that it had been targeted early Tuesday and said it was returning fire at Israeli troops. It vowed to continue to carry out attacks, according to reports in Palestinian media.
Israel placed a cordon around Nablus almost two weeks ago, and had indicated it could step up actions against Lion’s Den.
AFP contributed to this report.