(Photo credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/IMAGO/ZUMA Wire)
The Lion’s Den Palestinian resistance group issued a warning to Israel on 23 October, telling occupation officials to be ready “because a security event is approaching.”
“The arms of the [Lion’s] Den are as thirsty as the Negev desert, so watch out. We have become a volcano of anger … From above the ground and from beneath it, wait for us, for we are preparing for you a blazing event,” the West Bank-based resistance group said via statement on Sunday night.
This warning was issued in response to the assassination of Tamer Kilani, who was killed overnight on Sunday in the Old City of Nablus, when a bomb placed on a parked motorcycle was detonated.
The newly formed armed resistance group has called his death a targeted assassination by Israel. Neither the Israeli army nor the Shin Bet has commented on the killing.
If confirmed to have been carried out by Tel Aviv, Kilani’s assassination would be the first one orchestrated by Israel in the West Bank in over 20 years.
In the hours following his murder, the Lions’ Den published surveillance footage showing an individual placing an explosive on the motorcycle and the charge exploding as Kilani walked by.
“The bomb exploded as he passed by and he became a martyr,” Kilani’s father, Sufian Kilani, told Reuters, before adding: “We don’t know whether the bomb was timed or triggered remotely.”
“We promise the occupation and [Chief of Staff Aviv] Kochavi a severe, agonizing, and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today,” the Lion’s Den said in a statement confirming Kilani’s death.
Kilani spent eight years in an Israeli prison on charges of belonging to the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Several Palestinian factions paid tribute to Kilani, with the Fatah movement describing his killing as a “cowardly assassination.”
The Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) groups also warned that Kilani’s death would “not stop Palestinian resistance.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Palestinian media on Sunday 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,” the PIJ 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.”
The Lion’s Den emerged recently in the Old City of Nablus, in response to near-daily violent raids of Palestinian towns and refugee camps by the Israeli army.
Israel’s Channel 13, which describes the group as a “terrorist” organization, concedes that: “in less than a year, [the Lion’s Den] has transformed from an obscure organization into an organization that has more influence than all known Palestinian factions, and threatens the security of the Israelis and the stability of the Palestinian Authority.”
The Lion’s Den is considered part of a larger phenomenon across the occupied West Bank that includes the Nablus Brigades, the Jenin Brigades, and others.
These armed resistance groups have been active in responding to the killing of Palestinians, including children, elders, and, on 14 October, even a Palestinian doctor, Abdullah Abu al-Teen. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Gaza since the beginning of the year.