A Palestinian fighter was killed Sunday in an explosion in the occupied West Bank, with Israel not commenting on accusations by a Palestinian armed group that it was behind his murder.
Tamer al-Kilani was murdered Sunday night in the ancient city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The Lions’ Den, an armed group of young Palestinians formed last year out of frustration and disillusionment with the Palestinian leadership and close security ties to Israel, said Kilani was killed when an explosive device planted on a motorcycle exploded as he walked by.
The group described Kilani as one of the “fiestest fighters” and blamed Israel for his death.
“The insidious occupation (Israel) put a sticky TNT device as the way to kill [Kilani]’ the group wrote on Telegram.
Palestinians gathered around the charred remains of a motorcycle reportedly loaded with explosives on Sunday.
— الأخرس (@rdooan) October 23, 2022
Translation: He was murdered by the [Israeli] sunrise occupation…#Tamer_Kilani (Abu Yamen), a former prisoner and one of the leaders of the #LionsDen group, was one of the planners and participants in conducting operations targeting the occupation forces.
Two videos from the Lions’ Den showed a person on a motorcycle parked and stepped out of the frame. The second video showed a man, presumably Kilani, walking past a motorcycle and then what appears to be a firecracker.
“We promise and swear to reveal the details of the murder of the martyr Tamer, and we promise the occupation and [Aviv] Kochavi a harsh, painful and painful response,” the armed group said in a statement, referring to the Israeli chief of staff.
The group called on Palestinians to attend Kilani’s funeral, which will take place in Nablus on Sunday afternoon. A general strike has been declared in the city.
The Israeli military declined to comment. It has been conducting nighttime raids on the occupied West Bank since March in what it believes is an attempt to dismantle armed networks and thwart attacks.
An Israeli military official said Kilani was involved in a shooting last week that killed an Israeli soldier, as well as several other attacks in the northern West Bank. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the details with the media.
Look| A video documents the moment when the most prominent leader of the Lions’ Den (a resistance group) Tamer Al-Kilani was killed with improvised explosive devices placed on his motorcycle by Israeli occupation forces in the ancient city of Nablus.#تامر_كيلاني pic.twitter.com/QhegTjTgM6
— Al-Jarmaq News (@Aljarmaqnetnews) October 23, 2022
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and its military wing, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said Kilani was a member of its military wing when he was younger.
“The martyr has always been at the forefront of activities and events, especially the activities of support to prisoners and confrontation with the occupation,” the party said in a statement.
It went on to say that Kilani has spent eight years in Israeli prisons on charges of belonging to his military wing.
PFLP stressed that Kilani’s assassination “will not succeed in halting the revolutionary tide that our hero comrade helped launch along with his brothers and companions”, but will initiate a response that will lead to “further escalation of the resistance and confrontation with the occupation on all fronts”. ”.
Kilani leaves behind his wife, his 11-year-old son and his five-month-old daughter.
Israeli military operation
Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority, with which it coordinates to fight armed fighters, of being unwilling to curb what it describes as lawlessness in the occupied West Bank, particularly in Nablus and Jenin.
Many Palestinians oppose the security coordination, seeing it as a sign of the PA’s weakness and a betrayal of the Palestinian people. Deeply disenchanted with the PA, which is seen as undemocratic and corrupt, young Palestinians join a series of armed groups.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said Lions’ Den has no more than 30 members and has promised their days are numbered.
The Israeli military attacks on the occupied West Bank, codenamed Operation Breaking the Wave, began after a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 19 people, while more recent attacks have killed even more.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces this year, the highest toll in the occupied West Bank in nearly seven years. according to the United Nations.
The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed in the raids are armed fighters. But youths protesting Israeli raids and others not involved in clashes have also been killed.
On Saturday, Israeli forces killed Rabi Arafah Rabi, 32, at a checkpoint southeast of the city of Qalqilya.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Rabi was hit by “a bullet to the head”.