On Monday, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians and wounded at least 21 in a major assault on the Old City of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank.
Two completely different narratives emerged regarding the events which led to the killing of Ali Khaled Antar, Mishal Baghdadi, Hamdi Qayyem, Hamdi Mohamed Sharaf, in addition to Wadee al-Hawah, one of the leaders of the Areen Al-Ousoud (The Lions’ Den) resistance group.
At an army ceremony, Israeli army chief Aviv Kochavi said that the army “has been waging war in the West Bank, over the past seven months”, claiming that Israel had “thwarted hundreds of operations.”
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that they will continue to search for members of the Lions’ Den group, and that “their fate will be either prison or the grave.”
However, in a statement released on Wednesday, The Lions’ Den revealed more details about the Israeli army raid in Nablus, which mostly contradicts the account of the Israeli army.
The Lions’ Den Statement
“On the night of the storming (of Nablus), the leadership of the Lions’ Den convened, having received security information and estimates that the Israeli occupation’s operation targeting the Lions’ Den, in which Lapid and Gantz would achieve electoral achievements, was drawing near,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the group’s commanders decided to mobilize the fighters and lured Isreali soldiers inside the Old City. Their fighters were reportedly able to strike Israeli soldiers from several different positions.
In its statement, the group indicates that there was a 10-minute time interval between the Israeli occupation forces’ arrival and the withdrawal of the group leader, al-Hawah. According to the group, however, logistical difficulties made it impossible for al-Hawah to leave the area, leading to his death.
The statement also revealed that the Lions’ Den’s fighters outside the area had already located the Israeli special forces unit that entered Nablus prior to the arrival of regular army forces. “In every true sense of the word, that special unit was eliminated,” the group asserted, “as it came under heavy fire” and fell into the trap of “previously planted explosives”.
The Lions’ Den statement continued by explaining that the Israeli army’s operation was, in actuality, focused on the rescue of its troops. And having failed to achieve any of its objectives, it bombed a house. By the time of their withdrawal, they had failed to capture the leadership of the Lions’ Den, obtaining no useful data or any equipment.
The Lions’ Den also explained that the Israeli army’s declared objectives of targeting a ‘lab’, belonging to the Resistance, was a ‘lie’.
“We challenge the Zionist occupation to broadcast the .. video of the entire operation – but, … you will not do so,” the statement added.
In a message to the Palestinian people, the Lions’ Den said that “Our fighters were hearing your support, your voices, … which only made us more determined.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)