February 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Operation in Nablus Aimed to Apprehend Wanted Killers

February 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israeli Operation in Nablus Aimed to Apprehend Wanted Killers

Latest Developments

Israeli security forces carried out an operation in Nablus on Wednesday to apprehend three wanted individuals the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) suspects of playing a role in the killing of Israeli soldier Ido Baruch last October. The suspects refused to surrender and instead opened fire, the IDF stated, leading to a gun battle that resulted in their deaths. One of the suspects was Hussam Aslim, a leader in the terrorist organization known as the Lions’ Den. The IDF said the other two wanted individuals were members of the Lions’ Den and Islamic Jihad (PIJ), respectively, and were responsible for other attacks in the West Bank.

During the raid, Nablus residents hurled rocks, explosive devices, and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces, the IDF said. The clashes resulted in 11 Palestinian deaths and several dozen injuries.

Expert Analysis

“Nablus now ranks among the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarm that have succumbed to increased lawlessness and radicalization. Israel has little choice but to restore order, given that the Palestinian Authority can barely project power in these towns. The problem for Israel is that it’s a double-edged sword. Should the IDF not conduct these operations, the lawlessness will only grow. But when it does conduct these operations, it sparks outrage among the residents. The problems in the West Bank are thus not likely to end any time soon.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Precursor to the Nablus Operation

On October 11, 2022, the Lions’ Den claimed responsibility for shooting and killing IDF Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch in an attack near the northern West Bank community of Shavei Shomron. Last week, Israeli security forces apprehended Lions’ Den members Abdel Kamel Jouri and Osama Taweel, whom the IDF suspected of carrying out the October attack. The Israeli operation today aimed to capture other Lions’ Den members complicit in the assault.

The Lions’ Den

Established in August 2022, the Lions’ Den comprises terrorists belonging to different Palestinian factions, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The group unsuccessfully attempted an attack in Jaffa in September 2022 and has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks against IDF troops and Israeli communities in the West Bank. For example, in December 2022, members of the Lions’ Den carried out at least three separate shootings against IDF troops near Nablus, though none resulted in casualties.

Related Analysis

Analysis: The Lions’ Den and the Future of Militant Activity in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” edited by Joe Truzman


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics