ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Top security chiefs meet, said to discuss armed Palestinian group ‘Lion’s Den’

The organization has claimed responsibility for numerous recent shooting attacks against Israeli forces and civilians in the northern West Bank

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)
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)

Israel’s political and security leaders held a special security assessment on Sunday to discuss the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to Channel 12 news, the sit-down focused on countering a recently formed armed Palestinian group that calls itself “Lion’s Den.”

Among those present were Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and National Security Council Chairman Eyal Hulata, and the heads of Mossad and the Shin Bet, the report said.

Lion’s Den 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.

Earlier Sunday, the military’s liaison to the Palestinians said it had revoked the entry permits to Israel from 164 family members of Palestinian “terror elements” in the West Bank city of Nablus, referring specifically to members of the group Lion’s Den.

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

Israeli soldiers are seen at the scene of a shooting near the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, on October 11, 2022. Inset: Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, killed in the attack. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90; Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF said Sunday it would impose another closure on West Bank crossings, following a violent weekend.

The closure, which also includes crossings with the Gaza Strip, was to begin on Sunday at 4 p.m. and end on Monday at 11:59 p.m. The border crossings were set to reopen “subject to a situational assessment and in accordance with the usual operating hours,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

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.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report

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