Will Palestinians target ‘collaborators’ after killing of Lions' Den gunman?

The slain gunman’s friends are convinced that he was assassinated by Israel with the help of Palestinian “collaborators.” 

 Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces during a protest at the Hawara checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, October 14, 2022 (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces during a protest at the Hawara checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, October 14, 2022
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

The death of Tamer al-Kilani, a senior member of the Lions’ Den armed group in Nablus in a pre-dawn explosion in the Old City of Nablus, has triggered calls for retaliation not only against Israel - but also for targeting Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israel.

The slain gunman’s friends are convinced that he was assassinated by Israel with the help of Palestinian “collaborators.” 

That’s why al-Kilani is being mourned in Nablus as a “martyr of treason” – a reference to the alleged involvement of Palestinians in his killing.

Residents of Nablus said al-Kilani was aware that he was wanted by Israel for his involvement in a series of attacks on Israelis, and that’s why he took precautionary security measures to avoid being captured by the IDF.

The explosion that killed him came as a surprise to the Lions’ Den gunmen, who are now trying to track down the suspected “collaborators” who allegedly assisted the Israeli security forces, the residents added.

 IDF operates in West Bank as part of Operation Break the Wave, October 21, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF operates in West Bank as part of Operation Break the Wave, October 21, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

As in previous cases in which gunmen were killed or arrested by the IDF, some Palestinians renewed their call to the Palestinian Authority to halt security coordination with Israel. Others went further by accusing the PA of working in collusion with Israel to eliminate the armed groups operating in the northern West Bank.

Will Palestinians be killed if they are found helping the IDF?

A Palestinian political activist said that the gunmen’s allegations could lead to the killing of a number of Palestinians suspected of having tipped off the IDF about the whereabouts of al-Kilani. 

The activist pointed out that hundreds of “collaborators” were killed by Palestinians during the First Intifada, which erupted in late 1987.

The Lions’ Den group has installed dozens of security cameras throughout the Old City of Nablus as part of an effort to thwart IDF operations against its members. A video released on Sunday by the group reportedly shows an unidentified man placing the explosive device that killed al-Kilani. Palestinians claim that the man is a jassus (spy) for Israel.

The death of al-Kilani is a serious blow to the Lions’ Den, whose members will now be forced to devote more time and energy to avoid being tracked down and killed by the IDF than to launching attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the Nablus area. The gunmen, in addition, will be forced to direct more energies to uncover and punish “collaborators.”