Palestinian sheds troubling light on new Lion’s Den terror group

“The brain belongs to Hamas and the hands belong to Fatah,” says Palestinian close to the Shechem-based terror group.

By Baruch Yedid, TPS

Someone who was once a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who is now very close to the new “Lion’s Den” terror group in Shechem (Nablus), revealed in an exclusive interview with TPS new details about the group that is troubling both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The man who was active in early 2000 and was one of the driving forces behind the armed intifada, insists on remaining anonymous and has until now refused to be interviewed by foreign media. Formerly referred to as “Ish Hakhalim,” he also cooperated with Hezbollah and spent many years in an Israeli prison.

The activist tells TPS that the Lion’s Den group represents the birth of a new national revolutionary phenomenon, which pulled the rug from under the feet of the PA’s leadership and crushed the dream of American General Keith Dayton who wanted to build a significant Palestinian military force to fight terrorism.

General Dayton served as the American security coordinator between Israel and the PA from 2005 to 2010. He helped the PA build security mechanisms that were popularly known as the “Dayton Forces” and which form the backbone of security coordination with Israel.

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The activist says that the members of Lions’ Den are establishing local headquarters in all the Palestinian cities and their goal is to establish themselves in every village and camp and become a new revolutionary national organization that operates with great power while opposing the PA.

According to him, the headquarters that are now being established are indeed separate from each other, but they all adopt the name Lion’s Den. He added that this is not about dozens of individuals in Shechem alone, as people tend to think in Israel, but, Lions’ Den groups are a national and not a local phenomenon.

“The Lions managed to escape the watchful eye of the Israeli Shin Bet and proved that both the Palestinian Authority, the Americans and the Shin Bet cannot stand up to the new spirit of resistance,” he said.

The activist testifies that the “lions” get support from Hamas and work under the direction of the Hamas leadership.

Most of the young commanders in the new organization are members of Hamas” and according to him, “the brain belongs to Hamas and the hands belong to Fatah”.

He described Lion’s Den as an, “improved model of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ organization – these are Fatah activists who work under Hamas.”

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“In 2000, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs operated in coordination with Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards and also in coordination with Hamas, but today the situation is different and Hamas plays a much more significant role in the establishment of the armed organization” but that “it is not possible to reveal all the things nor the extent of the involvement of Hamas,” concluded the source from Shechem.

The people who are members of the group are members of the generation that was born and grew up after the armed intifada of 2000. These are young people who have completely despaired of the Palestinian leadership and the Fatah leadership, but this is the only factor capable of uniting all parts of the Palestinian people and motivating them to action, he explained.

The source said the decision to establish Lion’s Den was made after the “assassination” of Ibrahim Al Nabulsi, one of the leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. Nabulsi was killed during a massive shootout with Israeli security forces in Shechem in August. Nabulsi’s nickname was “the Lion of Nablus.”

The meeting which founded Lion’s Den was also attended by Musab Shtayyeh, a senior Hamas operative whose arrest by the PA led to violence between the Lion’s Den and the PA.

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The source added, “The appearance of the lions reminds me of the appearance of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs a few months before the second intifada in which they were one of the main perpetrators and dragged it into an armed bloody struggle.”

From his talks with TPS, it appears that the Palestinian Authority is trying to break up the group. To that end, it is offering people wages and is also offering to purchase weapons from their people for large sums, but so far this policy has failed.

The source said that the better-equipped Palestinian Authority has failed to overcome Lion’s Den. The terror group, he said, proved it has the power to overcome the internal divisions among the Palestinian people.