Palestinians accused Israel of assassinating a senior member of the Lions’ Den terrorist group in Nablus with an explosive device placed on a motorcycle on early Sunday.
Though initial reports said Tamer al-Kilani was killed while preparing an explosive device, the Lions’ Den later said the explosion was caused by a bomb placed on his motorcycle by a “collaborator.”
The group claimed it would reveal details about what it called an “assassination” and warned that there would be a response.
The Lions' Den accuses Israel of assassinating one of its members in Nablus Sunday morning. The group said explosives were hidden by an unknown person and detonated when Tamer al-Kilani approached it. pic.twitter.com/o15pSfW6Z0— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) October 23, 2022
“We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today,” the group said. “Today, we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.”
“We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today. Today we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.”Lions' Den
Shortly afterward, the Lions’ Den published surveillance footage it claimed showed an individual placing an explosive on Kilani’s motorcycle and the charge exploding as Kilani walked by.
Neither the IDF or Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) made any comments on the explosion.
Who was Lions' Den member Tamer al-Kilani? What has Lions' Den done?
The 33-year-old terrorist was reportedly a senior member of the organization and was a former security prisoner who spent eight years in an Israeli prison for belonging to the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades.
Following his death, the group said Kilani had been a member of its group and was “one of the leaders of the Lions’ Den” and he had always been “at the forefront of those clashing with the occupation.”
His assassination “will not succeed in stopping the revolutionary tide that he contributed to launching along with his brothers and his companions. Rather, the response will be through further escalation of the resistance and by confrontation with the occupation,” it said.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza also warned that Kilani’s death would not stop Palestinian resistance.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem was quoted in Palestinian media as saying the way in which Kilani was killed “revealed the inability of the occupation to face the escalating resistance, specifically by the Lions’ Den group in Nablus.”
“The crime of assassination will not affect the steadfastness of the brave fighters,” Islamic Jihad warned, adding that Palestinian resolve “will turn into an escalating fire that will not stop in the face of the occupying soldiers and herds of settlers.”
Kilani was reportedly personally involved in several attacks, including numerous shootings around Nablus and sending a terrorist with a gun and pipe bomb to Tel Aviv. The latter was averted by Israeli law enforcement on the spot but had the potential to be a serious terror attack.
He was also responsible for throwing a grenade at an IDF unit near the organic farm outpost Havat Gilad, and for dispatching Nablus resident Amad Asleem to place an explosive device at a gas station in Kedumim in late September. Asleem, who is also suspected of shooting toward an Israeli vehicle near Huwara, was detained by Israeli forces.
The Lions’ Den has taken responsibility for a series of shooting attacks in recent weeks in and near Nablus. The group also claimed the drive-by shooting attack that killed St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch near the Shavei Shomron settlement.
Due to the number of attacks by the group, the IDF placed a closure on the city two weeks ago.
Residents said on Saturday that the closure has had a negative impact on the city’s economic situation. The number of Arab-Israelis who used to visit for shopping and dining has dropped significantly, they noted.
Some residents said the closure has affected the olive harvest because many people were unable to reach their fields. In addition, many villages and towns cut off from Nablus are said to be suffering from a shortage of basic food products.
The PA Foreign Ministry announced it would organize a visit for foreign diplomats to Nablus on Wednesday to brief them on the economic hardships and as an expression of solidarity with the residents.
Several Palestinian factions said they too were planning to step up their protests in the coming days to exert pressure on the IDF to lift the “siege.”
The factions called on drivers to head to the IDF checkpoints and honk the horns of their vehicles to protest the closure. They also urged Palestinians from other parts of the West Bank to descend on Nablus in many buses as part of an effort to “break the siege.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.