Wadi al-Houh was a founding member of the Lion’s Den terror group.
By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
The IDF killed Lion’s Den top commander and founding member during a Monday raid on a bomb factory in the Shechem (Nablus).
Five Palestinian terrorists affiliated with Lion’s Den were killed, including 31-year-old Wadi al-Houh, who earlier this year was one of the organization’s founding members. A sixth Palestinian was killed by soldiers while throwing a firebomb during a clash in the nearby village of Nabi Saleh, the IDF said.
“The terrorist Wadi al-Houh was killed in the exchange of fire,” Prime Minister Yair Lapid told Israel’s Kan radio on Tuesday morning.
“Israel will never be deterred from acting for its security. Part of this squad are people who hurt Ido Baruch, and the moment they hurt us, IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, they should know it will end badly,” Lapid added.
Palestinians clashed with soldiers during the raid; videos circulating on social media showed gunshots, explosions, burning tires and rock-throwing as well as mosque loudspeakers calling on Palestinians to fight incursion.
Palestinian media reported at least 20 Palestinians injured. No Israeli personnel were hurt.
According to Israeli officials, the terror group thought that its location — in the narrow streets of the Shechem casbah — would deter the IDF from attacking, Ynet reported. They also believe that the terror group has no more than 30 members.
“Palestinian nationalists, who are not affiliated with any terror organizations, have been launching attacks. They are not well-organized and are not the best terrorists in the world,” the officials told Ynet. “But because of their proximity to settlements, they are a challenge to deal with.”
The Lion’s Den is a relatively new terror group that opposes the Palestinian Authority and has become too popular for Ramallah to to rein in. Further, it enjoys Palestinian popularity and legitimacy for “protecting Nablus and Joseph’s Tomb from Israeli forces,” a Palestinian source told Haaretz.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Houh had posted comments on Facebook against Palestinian Authority attempts to disarm the Lion’s Den by brining its members into the PA security services.
The raid came on the heels of a mysterious blast in Shechem’s casbah on Saturday night which killed Tamer Kilani, another senior Lion’s Den commander. Some Palestinian reports said Kilani was killed by his own explosive while others said he was killed by a booby trapped motorcycle.
Hebrew media reports said Kilani was personally involved in a number of shooting and grenade attacks against Israelis in Samaria while masterminding others. In September, he dispatched a Palestinian terrorist with a gun and explosives to carry out a mass-casualty attack in Tel Aviv. A possible massacre was foiled by police officers in Jaffa who saw the terrorist acting suspiciously.
According to Haaretz, the Lions’ Den is mostly made up of young, secular Palestinians, many of whom had been associated with other political or terror factions, including Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The terror group coalesced in response to a surge of IDF counter-terror operations. The IDF launched Operation Wave Breaker following a series of Palestinian terror attacks in the spring that killed 19 people. The IDF doubled its presence in Judea and Samaria and has staged frequent raids on terror suspects.
In five months, Israeli security forces have arrested around 2,000 terror suspects and foiled hundreds of attacks.
In response to the Monday raid, Palestinian factions, including the ruling Fatah, called for a general strike in Shechem and a “day of rage.” A statement issued by Nabil Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, called the Israeli raid, “a war crime.”
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