Israeli troops operated extensively throughout the West Bank in the predawn hours of Wednesday morning, arresting 18 wanted Palestinians including three members of the Lion’s Den terror group, the military said.
The Israel Defense Forces launched major arrest operations after a series of Palestinian attacks that killed 19 people earlier this year. Another Israeli woman was killed in a suspected attack last month, and another four soldiers have been killed in the West Bank in attacks and during the arrest operations.
In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, troops arrested three members of the loosely organized terror group known as Lion’s Den, which has claimed near-nightly attacks on troops and civilians.
A night earlier, Israeli troops killed the apparent leader of the group as well as four other gunmen in a raid in Nablus, which also saw troops destroying a bomb factory.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen — mostly members of Lion’s Den — have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
The IDF said troops detained Mohammed Nabulsi, the brother of Ibrahim Nabulsi, a wanted Palestinian gunman killed by Israeli troops in August. Lion’s Den was formally established following his death.
Nabulsi was arrested for alleged weapons offenses, manufacturing explosives, and being a member of the terror group.
The second Lion’s Den member was accused of involvement in shooting attacks against Israeli cars driving in the Huwara area, south of Nablus, last month.
And the third was only accused of being a member of the group. Several weapons were also seized.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, troops arrested 15 other suspects, with violent incidents in some areas, the IDF said.
The 18 suspects were taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet security agency.
The military said no troops were hurt during the overnight raids.
The anti-terror offensive launched earlier this year has netted more than 2,000 arrests during the near-nightly raids in Palestinian cities, towns, and villages. It has also left more than 120 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.