Israeli troops on Friday morning detained a member of the Lion’s Den terror group in the West Bank city of Nablus amid a fierce gun battle, the military, police and Shin Bet security agency said in a joint statement.
The arrest came amid a months-long Israeli anti-terror effort, mostly in the northern West Bank, following a series of terror attacks that have left 31 people dead since the beginning of the year.
The Israel Defense Forces, Border Police and Shin Bet said troops entered Nablus on Friday morning to arrest Ahmed Masri, 19, a member of the armed group based in the northern West Bank city.
The Shin Bet said Masri was close with Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade fighter and one of the founding members of the Lion’s Den. Al-Nabulsi was killed by Israeli troops in late August, around the time when the terror group was being formed.
It added that Masri was still actively involved in terror activities.
When troops arrived at a building in Nablus to arrest Masri, he fled and hid in another building while armed. The military said several uninvolved civilians were in that building at the time.
Special Border Police forces broke into the building, arrested Masri and seized the firearm in his possession. He was taken to be questioned by the Shin Bet.
During the raid, Palestinians opened fire at troops and hurled explosives, stones and Molotov cocktails at them, the IDF said. Soldiers and Border Police officers returned fire at armed gunmen, the military said.
The Palestinian Red Cresent said four Palestinians were wounded by gunfire and bullet fragments, and one by rubber bullets, while 25 required treatment after inhaling tear gas and one suffered a head injury for unclear reasons during the clashes.
No Israeli soldiers or officers were hurt in the raid, Israeli officials said.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen, mostly members of the 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’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It has also left 170 Palestinians dead, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.