Israel revokes entry permits from over 150 relatives of Nablus ‘terror elements’

Senior officer warns nascent armed faction: ‘Path of terror will also affect their families’; six wanted Palestinians detained in overnight West Bank raids

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli soldiers stand guard near the West Bank village of Huwara, near Nablus, October 13, 2022. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the West Bank village of Huwara, near Nablus, October 13, 2022. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

The military’s liaison to the Palestinians on Sunday said it had revoked the entry permits to Israel from 164 family members of Palestinian “terror elements” in the West Bank city of Nablus.

In a statement, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) — the Defense Ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs — said the decision was made following an assessment held by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

In the past year, more than 2,500 work permits belonging to family members of Palestinian terrorists have been revoked, COGAT added.

“The terrorists who are hiding in the heart of the civilian population in Nablus should know that their identity is well known to the security system and that the path of terror they choose will also affect their families, who will not be able to continue earning a living in Israel,” said Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, head of COGAT.

Alian was referring to members of a group calling itself “Lion’s Den,” which has claimed responsibility for numerous recent shooting attacks against Israeli forces and civilians in the northern West Bank.

The group, based in Nablus, was established in recent months by members of various terror groups. Some of its members were apparently previously affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among others.

Members of Lion’s Den are seen in Nablus in an image published by the armed faction on September 3, 2022. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The move to revoke the permits from their family members came after Israel imposed a closure on Nablus, not long after an Israeli soldier was killed in a shooting attack claimed by Lion’s Den.

Some routes were left open, through which Palestinians may enter and leave Nablus following “a strict security check.”

In another move against Lion’s Den, the TikTok video-sharing platform on Saturday banned an account belonging to the armed group. According to Hebrew-language media reports, the move came following requests by Israel.

Lion’s Den had used its TikTok account to publish videos of its members committing shooting attacks and to spread its ideology.

Lion’s Den, which is believed to consist of several dozen members without any proper hierarchy, continues to have a large following on the Telegram messaging service.

Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral for Ibrahim Nabulsi and two others killed in the West Bank city of Nablus, August 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Tensions have risen sharply in the West Bank, with Israeli forces ratcheting up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts in the West Bank since a spate of terror attacks against Israelis in the spring killed 19 people.

In recent months, Palestinian gunmen have repeatedly attacked military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli operations this year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.

In arrest raids across the West Bank early Sunday, troops detained six wanted Palestinians and seized weapons and ammunition, the Israeli military said.

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