TZVI JOFFRE, ANNA AHRONHEIM
Palestinian terror group says terrorist killed in an Israeli assassination. Tamer Kilani was a senior member involved in several shootings and attempted terror attacks.
Palestinian militant takes part in the funeral of two Palestinian gunmen who were killed by IDF in a gun battle during a raid, in Nablus in the West Bank July 24, 2022. / (photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)
A member of the Lions’ Den terrorist group was killed in an explosion in Nablus on Saturday night, though Palestinian reports were conflicted on whether the explosion was accidental or an assassination.
Initial reports claimed that the explosion was caused while the terrorist, identified as Tamer Kilani, was preparing an explosive device.
However, later in the night, the Lions’ Den group claimed that the explosion was caused by a bomb placed on Kilani’s motorcycle and blamed Israel for the incident.
The group claimed that they would reveal details about what they called an “assassination” and warned that there would be a response.
PALESTINIAN GUNMEN from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades hold a military parade in the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus, last week. Israel need not apologize for defending itself against Palestinian terrorist cells, says the writer. (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
“We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today. Today we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.”
“We promise the occupation and [IDF Chief of Staff Aviv] Kohavi a severe, agonizing and painful response. We call on every resident who can enter Nablus to participate in his funeral today,” the group said in a statement. “Today we gave our land the best of our soldiers. The lions will go one after the other, either to victory or to become a martyr.”
Shortly afterward, the Lions’ Den published surveillance camera footage they claimed showed an individual placing an explosive on Kilani’s motorcycle and the charge exploding as Kilani walked by.
The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have not commented on the incident.
Who was Lions’ Den member Tamer al-Kilani? What has Lions’ Den done?
The 33-year-old Lions’ Den terrorist was reportedly a senior member of the organization and was a former security prisoner who spent eight years in an Israeli prison for belonging to the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades.
Following his death, the group released a statement saying that Kilani had been a member of their group and was “one of the leaders of the Lions’ Den” and he had always been “at the forefront of those clashing with the occupation.”
His assassination “will not succeed in stopping the revolutionary tide that he contributed to launching along with his brothers and his companions. Rather, the response will be through further escalation of the resistance and by confrontation with the occupation,” the statement read.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip also warned that Kilani’s death would not stop Palestinian resistance.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem was quoted in Palestinian media as saying that 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,” 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.”
Kilani was reportedly personally involved in several attacks, including numerous shootings around Nablus and sending a terrorist with a gun and pipe bomb to Tel Aviv. The latter was averted by Israeli law enforcement on the spot, but had the potential to be a serious terror attack that could have resulted in high casualties.
He was also responsible for throwing a grenade at IDF troops near Havat Gilad and for dispatching a Nablus resident, Amad Asleem to place an explosive device at a gas station in Kedumim in late September. Asleem, who is also suspected of shooting toward an Israeli vehicle near Huwara, was detained by the Shin Bet and Israeli forces.
The Lions’ Den group has taken responsibility for a series of shooting attacks in recent weeks in and near Nablus. The group also claimed the drive-by shooting attack that killed IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Ido Baruch near the settlement of Shavei Shomron.
Due to the number of attacks by the group, the IDF placed a closure on the city two weeks ago.
Local residents said on Saturday that the closure has had a negative impact on the economic situation in the city. The number of Arab Israelis who used to visit the city for shopping and dining has dropped significantly, they noted.
Some residents complained that the closure has affected the olive harvest season because many villages were unable to reach their fields. In addition, many villages and towns cut off from Nablus are said to be suffering from a shortage of basic food products.
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry announced that it would organize a visit for foreign diplomats to Nablus on Wednesday to brief them on the economic hardships and as an expression of solidarity with the residents.
Several Palestinian factions said they too were planning to step up their protests in the coming days to exert pressure on the IDF to lift the “siege.”
The factions called on drivers to head to the IDF checkpoints and honk the horns of their vehicles to protest the closure. They also urged Palestinians from other parts of the West Bank to descend on Nablus in many buses as part of an effort to “break the siege.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.