Four operatives of the "Lions' Den" terrorist organization, including Mahmoud al-Bana, a top commander within the group, turned themselves over to Palestinian security forces in Nablus on Wednesday night.
Palestinian media reported that the organization turned to Palestinian security forces with a request to protect Bana.
According to the reports, Bana was injured in a raid by Israeli security forces on Tuesday in Nablus. The PA is preparing to transfer them to protective custody in Jericho Prison.
The terrorist organization has recently suffered severe blows.
Joint force raid eliminated top "Lions' Den" members
A joint force of the IDF, the Shin Bet and Yamam raided a hidden apartment early Tuesday morning in the Kasbah of Nablus, which was used as a laboratory for explosives by key operatives of the terrorist organization.
In the operation, five members of a terrorist squad were eliminated, including Wadee al-Houh, 31, one of the leaders and founders of the group; Hamdi Sharaf, 35; Ali Antar, 26; Hamdi Qayyim, 30; and Mashal Zahi Baghdadi, 27, who died of his wounds hours after the Israeli troops left the city.
According to reports, Houh was considered to be a founding member of the Nablus-based group. His home was used as a hub where connections were made between bomb-makers and locals who would carry out attacks.
In addition, Houh was a close friend of Mosab Shtayyeh, the senior Hamas operative who was arrested by the Palestinian security forces in Nablus a few weeks ago. Shtayyeh is also considered one of the top Lions’ Den commanders.
Houh was previously known as a senior member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah faction. He spent time in Israeli prison for security-related offenses.
Then on Tuesday night, three Lions' Den members were arrested: Muhammad Nabulsi, brother of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi who was killed in Nablus; a suspect who was wanted on suspicion of involvement in a shooting attack in Huwaraa; and another wanted person associated with the group who had weapons in his possession.
During the raid, troops from IDF commando units as well as Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officers raided buildings in the West Bank city to arrest members of the group who are suspected of “major involvement in terror activities,” the IDF said in a statement.
A hub for launching terrorist attacks
The IDF stated that the terrorist infrastructure which was attacked in Nablus Tuesday morning is responsible, among other things, for the shooting attack in which IDF soldier 1st Sgt. Ido Baruch was killed.
The squad was also responsible for sending a terrorist to perform an attack in Tel Aviv, which was prevented thanks to the vigilance of police forces at the scene, and the placing of an explosive device at the gas station in Kedumim.
In addition, the group tried to carry out an attack involving explosives on Har Bracha and throw a grenade at an IDF force near Gilad Farm, as well as being responsible for launching a series of shooting attacks in the Nablus area.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.