A new armed group has been established in the city of Salfit in the northern West Bank, where a number of similar militias have been operating over the past year.
The new group, Battalion of Martyr Omar Abu Laila, is named after a Palestinian who carried out a shooting and stabbing attack near Ariel, killing two Israelis, a soldier and a civilian.
On March 17, 2019, Abu Laila stabbed Sgt. Gal Keidan at the Ariel junction, grabbed the soldier’s gun and opened fire, hitting Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, who succumbed to his wounds a day later.
Abu Laila was later killed in an exchange of fire with IDF forces.
Senior Palestinian Authority officials and leaders of the ruling Fatah faction have since praised Abu Laila for carrying out the attack, and a memorial was erected for him in the village of Abwein near Ramallah where he hid before he was killed.
In a statement announcing the establishment of the new group on Sunday, the Battalion of Martyr Omar Abu Laila said its “soldiers were preparing many surprises that would shake the brutal [Israeli] entity.”