Palestinian killed as troops nab Lion’s Den gunmen accused of killing soldier
During raid in Nablus, military says troops wound, arrest Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, who allegedly killed Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch in October 2022 West Bank attack
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
A Palestinian man was killed in clashes with Israeli troops as they arrested two members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den terror group in the pre-dawn hours of Monday. The men are accused of carrying out a shooting attack in the northern West Bank in October 2022, killing a soldier.
In a joint statement with Border Police and the Shin Bet security agency, the Israel Defense Forces said forces entered Nablus and arrested Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, who were in a hideout apartment in the West Bank city. Another three suspects were detained with them, the IDF said.
During the raid, the IDF said Palestinian gunmen — including the wanted men — opened fire on the Israeli forces, from the elite Duvdevan unit and the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion.
Both Jouri and Taweel were wounded by the IDF before being detained. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
The IDF said troops also seized two M16 assault rifles from the wanted men, suspected to have been used in the deadly October attack.
Lion’s Den in a statement said its members had opened fire on Israeli troops.
Separately, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that one Palestinian man was killed and another seven were wounded during the clashes.
The slain man was identified by Palestinian media as Amir Bustami.
#صورة الشهيد أمير بسطامي الذي أستشهد برصاص جيش الاحتلال في #نابلس. pic.twitter.com/BZxTyYCc55
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) February 13, 2023
Jouri and Taweel are accused of killing Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch of the Givati infantry brigade’s reconnaissance unit, on October 11.
Baruch was shot by the gunmen while securing a march held by settlers near the Palestinian town of Sebastia. He was stationed near an interchange close to the nearby settlement of Shavei Shomron.
The gunmen opened fire at Baruch from a passing vehicle and fled the scene at a high speed, according to the IDF’s probe of the shooting. He was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where he later died.
A military investigation into the shooting pointed to “several errors” made by troops.
Baruch’s family was updated on the arrests early Monday.
In recent months, Palestinian gunmen, mostly members of the Nablus-based Lion’s Den, have repeatedly targeted military posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli settlements and civilians on the roads.
Tensions have been high as the IDF has pressed on with an anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of attacks that left 31 people in Israel dead in 2022, and another 10 since the beginning of the year.
The IDF’s operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids. It also left 171 Palestinians dead in 2022, and another 46 since the beginning of the year, many of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians.
There has also been a rise in revenge attacks by Israelis against Palestinians following recent terror attacks.
Also early Monday, Israeli fighter jets targeted an underground weapons facility in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket launch from the Palestinian enclave on Saturday evening, the military said.