Middle East Monitor / November 23, 2022
Military circles in Israel have started to talk about what they are calling “the heirs of the Lions’ Den” with the emergence of a group known as “Black Cave”. This is one of the groups that have emerged in the occupied West Bank to carry out commando operations against the Israeli occupation army and illegal settlers. The belief in Israel is that more young Palestinians will join the latest group.
“Ever since the Lions’ Den was dealt severe blows by the army and security services,” explained Amir Bukhbutt, the military correspondent for Walla website, “many copycat groups have appeared throughout the West Bank, one of which calls itself the Black Cave. According to many sources, it uses the Lions’ Den’s Telegram account, which has become very popular among Palestinians.”
In a report translated by Arabi21, he added: “Sources in the Israeli army have warned in recent months that more armed groups and cells will follow the Lions’ Den group and it seems that the Black Cave group is one of the many that include fighters who spread in the Palestinian street, specifically in Jenin, Tulkarem and Nablus in recent weeks. So far, none of them have reached the level reached by the Lions’ Den, both in terms of gaining popularity or by carrying out a large number of attacks.”
Yesterday it was the Lions’ Den, and tomorrow it may be another name, Bukhbutt pointed out. “The Israeli security agencies need to work against this phenomenon that is emerging throughout the West Bank.”
The Lions’ Den groups have recently faced a series of Israeli countermeasures, including arrests and killings. A senior Israeli military official claimed that, “Hamas leaders are the ones who paid the Lions’ Den, and they have one goal, which is to destabilize the West Bank through those attacks.”
It is no secret that the Lions’ Den became a challenge for the occupation forces, even after changing its name, in terms of attracting support from the Palestinian public and with more young men joining its ranks. This further confused the occupation authorities, as these groups do not belong to a specific faction, nor do they follow a specific ideology. Their operations pose a major threat to Israel’s military occupation.
The prevailing Israeli evaluation today is that the occupation state is facing a multi-faceted phenomenon that has become a security threat and is thus a prelude to deep military operations in the Palestinian arena. Above all else, these groups influence the younger Palestinian generation, which has unique characteristics. Most of the fighters were born in 2000 or after, meaning that their memories are relatively limited regarding the Second Intifada, but they remember the knife uprising of 2015. They now carry firearms, and despite their limited number, they have great influence on the Palestinian streets.