By Justin Malone, Staff Writer
A large military raid conducted by Israeli troops during the early morning of Oct. 25 in the city of Nablus left five Palestinians dead and another 21 wounded, marking one of the deadliest confrontations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank this year.
Israeli forces used dozens of armored vehicles, sniper troops and shoulder-launched missiles during the attack on the city which escalated after fighting with Palestinian resistance fighters and Palestinian Authority security forces ensued.
Smoke and fires arose in the city during the violence with the raid creating debris, blowing up what the Israeli military called a bomb lab and targeting the recently-formed Lions’ Den armed resistance group. Hundreds of Palestinians also surfaced in the streets of Nablus and threw rocks at Israeli forces during the raid.
Three of the men killed — Hamdi Qayyem, Wadee al-Hawah and Mish’al Baghdadi — were members of the Lions’ Den group, which is based in Nablus.
The Lions’ Den group is popular across the West Bank and is mainly composed of younger men in their teens and early 20s. The group has targeted Israeli troops and checkpoints with armed resistance, and the Israeli military claims that they have killed at least one soldier.
The group uses armed resistance to fight both Israeli soldiers and illegal immigration in the Nablus area.
The Lions’ Den has also accumulated attention and a large following on several social media platforms, including TikTok, after videos spread of the prominent member Ibraham al-Nabusi, an 18-year-old who escaped multiple arrest attempts by Israeli forces and walked openly on the streets of Nablus.
The other two — Hamdi Sharaf and Ali Antar — were unarmed barbers on their way home from work when they were shot dead by Israeli military forces.
A sixth man, identified as Qusai al-Tamimi, was later killed by Israeli forces who were attacked by protestors in the village of Nabi Saleh in Ramallah, near central West Bank.
Thousands attended the funeral procession of the six men killed, and millions of Palestinians across the West Bank observed a general strike in response to the conflict, with schools and stores closing early.
Israeli forces continued the operation after the raid, arresting three suspected Lions’ Den members last Wednesday and killing two more Palestinian men at a military checkpoint south of Nablus Friday.