Addressing the PA government, Wadee Alhouh, a leader of the Nablus-based group, wrote on Facebook that the timing of the offer was “unsuccessful.” He said that his group was determined to pursue the “path of glory until victory or martyrdom.”
The Lions’ Den, which consists of dozens of gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah faction, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, has claimed responsibility for several shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers in the Nablus area over the past few weeks.
Last week, the PA governor of Nablus, Ibrahim Ramadan, revealed that he had offered the members of the group to hand themselves over to the Palestinian security forces. Ramadan promised to protect the gunmen and negotiate a solution to their case with the Israeli authorities.
The mother of Mohammed al-Azizi, one of the founders of the group who was killed during a clash with IDF troops in July, also rejected the attempts by the PA to convince the gunmen to lay down their weapons in return for being incorporated into the Palestinian security forces.
The mother, Um Udai, said that the PA was wrong to think that the Lions’ Den would cease to exist if some of its members accepted the offer. She denounced those behind the offer as “traitors” and “conspirators.”
Palestinian sources said that the PA has been exerting pressure on the gunmen to hand themselves over to the Palestinian security forces. The sources claimed that a small number of gunmen accepted the offer to join the Palestinian security forces.
Lions’ Den member transferred to Jericho hospital
In a related development, Musab Shtayyeh, a Lions’ Den member and senior Hamas operative who was arrested by the PA security forces last month, has been transferred to a Palestinian hospital in Jericho.
The Palestinian Lawyers for Justice group said that Shtayyeh has been on hunger strike and was refusing to take his medicine since his incarceration. The arrest of Shtayyeh triggered violent protests in Nablus during which one Palestinian was killed and several others injured.