On March 13, 2023, an unknown Palestinian group calling itself "The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves" posted an announcement on its Telegram channel claiming responsibility for an IED attack that had taken place that day at the Megiddo Junction in northern Israel, in which one Israeli civilian was wounded. In the announcement, the group stated that the IED had been assembled by its operatives and planted by "one of our lone wolves," and that its operatives had then withdrawn from the scene unharmed. It also claimed to possess documentation of the attack.
The statement generated interest because, according to the Israeli media, Israeli security forces believe that the perpetrator infiltrated the country from Lebanon and was in some way affiliated with Hizbullah, due to the use of a Claymore IED, which is known to be used by this organization. Contrary to the claims made by the group, the Israeli security forces reported that the perpetrator had been killed as he attempted to return to Lebanon. As of this writing, no other body has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Two weeks later, the same group claimed responsibility for a March 27, 2022 shooting attack in the Israeli city of Hadera. This announcement is surprising because the Islamic State (ISIS) had claimed responsibility for this attack immediately after it occurred and had even published a video clip of the two perpetrators pledging allegiance to the ISIS leader.
The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves is very active on Telegram. A review of its posts on this messaging service reveals that it is a relatively new group, mostly active in the West Bank, and that it appeared at the same time as other Palestinian armed groups that surfaced in the West Bank during 2022 and do not identify as belonging to any specific Palestinian faction. The most prominent of these groups is the Lions' Den in Nablus.
In its Telegram posts, the group attempts to position itself as affiliated with Iran and Hizbullah and to create an impression of historical depth. For instance, it maintains that it is an outgrowth of two Palestinian groups with similar names, also connected to Hizbullah: The Galilee Forces, which was established in Syria in 2012 and fights alongside the regime there, and the Brigades of the Free People of the Galilee (Ahrar Al-Jalil), which was active within Israeli territory mainly between 2004 and 2008.
In addition to open support for Hizbullah and Iran, the group's social media accounts include extreme incitement against Israel. It calls to perpetrate terrorist attacks against soldiers, civilians, and Israeli leaders, and shares instructional videos demonstrating how to carry out attacks and how to prepare the necessary equipment. The group claims to have cells both within and outside Israel. However, despite its name, which suggests that it operates inside Israel, and despite taking responsibility for the two abovementioned attacks within Israel, all its other claims of responsibility indicate that its activity is focused in the West Bank. Some of the latter claims are dubious as well, because other Palestinian groups took responsibility for the attacks in question.
In light of the above, it is difficult to estimate the group's real strength, and it is possible that most of its posts are propaganda that does not reflect real action. Moreover, the fact that the claim of responsibility for the Megiddo attack was posted mere hours after the attack, when its character and aim were still unclear, suggest that this step may have been coordinated with, or directed by, Hizbullah, to enable it to distance itself from the incident and thus deprive Israel of grounds to retaliate against it.
If this is the case, this modus operandi resembles the approach that Iran has adopted in Iraq since the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi (the Popular Mobilization Units, PMU), by the U.S. in January 2020. In the Iraqi arena, new groups periodically appear, whose symbols and names indicate that they belong to the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias. These groups claim responsibility for terrorist attacks perpetrated against the American forces in the country, some of them using suicide drones, which suggests the involvement of an experienced and well-funded body. Many of these groups disappear as suddenly as they appear after claiming responsibility for several attacks. It is assessed that they serve mainly to shield the militias that are truly responsible for the attacks from American retaliation.
This report reviews the activity of the group calling itself The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves, as reflected in its posts on Telegram.
The Group's Origins
It seems that the group initially called itself Hurras Al-Fajr. This group appeared on April 30, 2022, when it claimed responsibility for the April 29 infiltration of the Israeli town of Ariel in the West Bank, for which Hamas had already taken responsibly. It is a Palestinian group, apparently based in the West Bank, which appeared at about the same time as several other West Bank organizations that are not fully identified with any known faction such as Fatah, Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The most prominent of them is the Nablus-based Lion's Den ('Arin Al-'Usoud) organization. Hurras Al-Fajr, too, did not appear to be affiliated with a known faction.
There are several indications of a connection between Hurras Al-Fajr and The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves. An image posted on one of The Galilee Forces' Telegram channels, Alfgr725 (which was opened on June 8, 2022), includes the logo of Hurras Al-Fajr, which is similar to The Galilee Forces logo. The channel's URL also indicates such a connection.
Furthermore, on July 17, 2022, The Galilee Forces posted two excerpts from a video showing masked and armed men standing in front of The Galilee Forces' flag. One of the hashtags that accompanies the post is #Hurras_Al-Fajr.
On February 24, 2023, the channel changed its profile image to the logo of The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves. On the same day it posted an announcement from "the Revolutionary Council of The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolf Cells in occupied Palestine," stating that the group's cells "inside and outside Palestine" had declared a general mobilization for "removing the tyrannical occupation and wiping out its leaders and supporters everywhere in the world." The group stressed that it supports all the resistance organizations, brigades, and groups that believe in armed struggle. Also on the same day, it posted its first claim of responsibility, for an attack on IDF positions in Hebron, which, it said, caused several casualties among the IDF soldiers.
Attempting To Establish Historic And Geographic Affiliation And A Connection To Iran And Hizbullah
The group's choice of new name and logo is not random; it appears to be aimed at creating a narrative of historic and geographic significance. In a March 2, 2023 message, it stated that it "has existed for years, operating quietly in and outside the occupied lands."
The group took its name from The Galilee Forces, and adopted that group's logo as well. The Galilee Forces, a Palestinian militia fighting in Syria alongside regime forces, was established as the military arm of the "Palestinian Youth Return" movement. That movement was established in 2012 following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war by Fadi Al-Mallah, aka Abu Al-Fidaa, who is from a Palestinian family in the Rif Dimashq refugee camp. Since its establishment, the movement has been fighting alongside Syrian regime forces against the rebels. According to Al-Mallah, his group has "a large popular base in Syria and occupied Palestine," and it considers itself part of the Iran- and Hizbullah-led resistance axis.
On April 4, 2022, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Jarida reported, citing "knowledgeable sources," that Israel had attacked Galilee Forces positions near Damascus. According to the report, Al-Mallah is a PFLP operative who liaised with the West Bank regarding terror attacks against Israel. These sources did not discount the possibility that the Forces had managed to bring fighters trained in Syria into Palestinian territory.
In addition, on July 17, 2022, the Telegram channel of The Galilee Forces – the Lone Wolves published a photo of "Commander" Alaa Abu Dahim – a Palestinian resident of Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem – who carried out the March 2008 shooting attack at Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem, killing eight students. Abu Dahim, who was killed during the attack, belonged to the group Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades – The Martyr 'Imad Mughniyah Group, named after the late Hizbullah commander 'Imad Mughniyah, who was killed in 2008. The channel described Abu Dahim as "the first martyrdom seeker of our forces stationed in Palestine." In a post published on March 6, 2023, Abu Dahim was described as "one of the founders of the Palestinian Galilee Forces, formerly Ahrar Al-Jalil."
Alaa Abu Dahim
A senior member of Ahrar Al-Jalil, who did not want to be identified, told the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi that the group was founded in 2002. He said that "we have contact with a dear brother from Hizbullah. We have known and worked with him for a long time. He and Mahmoud Al-Khatib are among the pillars of the group." The group consists of Arab citizens of Israel, and has claimed responsibility for a significant number of terror attacks across Israel, some carried out in cooperation with other Palestinian factions.
The Ahrar Al-Jalil Brigades logo
Support For Hizbullah And Iran
The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves has claimed to have ties with Palestinian organizations funded by Hizbullah and Iran, and that it supports Hizbullah and Iran. The group's Telegram channel features photos of slain IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Lebanese Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah, as well as quotes from Iranian regime officials.
Leadership And Activities
As mentioned, The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves, under its previous name, Hurras Al-Fajr, appeared concurrently with other Palestinian organizations in the West Bank, such as the Lions' Den. However, unlike the Lions' Den, whose members were spotted attending funeral processions and the like, so far there is no substantial evidence of the group's existence beyond its Telegram channels.
Nevertheless, the group presents itself as an organization. For instance, it publishes statements attributed to its "revolutionary council," or to its "commander," who is neither named nor identified. In addition, the group published several clips from different videos, each no longer than 20 seconds, showing three armed operatives, their faces covered, standing before the group's flag, as one member reads out a written statement. In all instances, only parts of the statements were posted.
From The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves' Telegram channel
Objective And Areas Of Activity
In its statements, the group stresses that it intends to operate wherever "the Israeli enemy" is present, "not only in Palestine." In one of its Telegram groups, it answered the question: "Who are you? [...] What is your goal, and on whose behalf [are you acting]?" The answer stated: "We are the Palestinian Galilee Forces, operating in and outside Palestine to liberate all the Palestinian national land. Religion or political parties shall not divide us. We are Arab youths from Palestine who believe in our cause. Our objective is clear — to kill and harm the Zionist enemy wherever he is, not just in Palestine. [We act] for Allah and the homeland alone."
On March 4, 2023, the group posted an audio message from its "commander," who warned that his forces "are deployed wherever the enemy is present, including in places the enemy does not expect [them to be]," and that anyone with connections to Israel is a target for the group. The commander urged, "All our cells within and beyond Palestine to spread our message and to sound the gunshots and our fury." He also called on "our brothers in the national action factions and their armed wings to help us deal with this oppressive enemy," adding, "We are your brothers and we follow in your footsteps." This message may indicate that the group is not popular with the other local factions.
On March 9 the group posted a message threatening to target Israeli interests and anyone it regards as collaborating with Israel, including in Europe, Turkey, and the Arab countries. The message said: "The West Bank, the Zionist settlements, all of the Palestinian occupied lands, the embassies of the [Israeli] entity in Europe and the Arab countries, enemy traders [staying] in the resorts of Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey, business people and investors who maintain ties with Israel, the Zionists' diplomatic, political, military and security representations, as well as figures in the field of sports – all these are a direct target for the Lone Wolves in and outside of Palestine. Blood for blood, and death to the one who started [the conflict]…
"Signed, The Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
"In the name of Allah, we commence [our activity]... #TheLoneWolves, #TheGalilee_Forces, #ThoseLoyalToTheBlood."
The message was posted again on March 22.
Claiming Attacks Within Israel
As proof of its ability to carry out attacks inside Israel, the group claimed responsibility for two attacks there, both of which were very likely carried out by other elements. As stated, the first attack on Israeli territory for which the group claimed responsibility was the March 13, 2023 bombing at Megiddo Junction in northern Israel, which Israeli security forces assess was actually perpetrated by a terrorist who had infiltrated Israel from Lebanon. The terrorist used a Claymore IED, familiar from Hizbullah attacks, and was killed as he attempted to flee back to Lebanon.
The statement released by the group about three hours after the attack, which was signed "The Palestinian Galilee Forces – The Lone Wolves," reads: "One of our lone wolves succeeded today at 04:00 in planting an explosive device, created by our wolves, at Megiddo Junction near the Afula road in northern occupied Palestine. The device exploded on one of the cars of the settlers, wounded the settler and totally destroyed the car. Our wolves returned safely."
The group tried to substantiate its claims regarding this bombing with two further posts. The first of them, a March 14 "military announcement" by its "revolutionary council," stated that the IED was "merely another of [our] actions in the depth of the occupied land against your bases and officials, which were caried out in the past [but] you concealed them." The group threatened: "Our explosive vests and car [bombs] are ready, and our wolves are preparing themselves. They are eying all the sites that were mentioned in [our] previous announcements and waiting for the 'dawn' to fully begin…"
The second message, from March 15, stated that all the claims of the Israeli intelligence apparatuses were false, and stressed that "the hero who had perpetrated the attack is alive and well and is in a safe place." The message added that the group had documentation of the attack.
As mentioned, the claim of responsibility for this attack may have been intended to deflect suspicion from Hizbullah and keep Israel from taking retaliatory action against it.
The other attack inside Israel claimed by the Galilee Forces was a March 27, 2022 shooting in Hedera, in which two Israeli border guards were killed. The shooting was perpetrated by two brothers from Umm Al-Fahm, both of whom were killed during the attack. In a message posted on the first anniversary of this shooting, the group claimed that the perpetrators had belonged to it. The message said: "On March 27, 2022, our lone wolves managed to carry out a direct attack on police officers of the terrorist Zionist occupation, on Herbert Samuel Street in occupied Hedera. Two police officers were killed and ten other people were wounded. Those who carried out this sacrifice operation were martyred. We officially claim responsibility for this heroic operation…" The announcement claimed that this was one operation of many carried out by the group since 2004. In addition, the group claimed attacks on Israeli MP Zvi Sukkot and Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, and stated that one of its operatives had even been arrested, which, it said, was proof that "we have cells inside their fictitious entity [Israel], which is weaker than cobwebs."
This claim of responsibility for the attack in Hedera is especially dubious, because ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting immediately after it occurred, and posted a video allegedly showing the two shooters pledging allegiance to the ISIS leader.
Doubts Regarding The Scope Of The Group's Activity In The West Bank
Apart from these two attacks, most of the attacks claimed by the group took place in the West Bank. For example, it claimed responsibility for clashes with IDF forces in the village of Jab'a near Jenin, in Hawara near Nablus, in Tulkarm and elsewhere. Some of the announcements named the specific cell involved. On March 25, for example, the group claimed that "Cell 725" had carried out an operation against IDF forces in Hawara, and on March 10 it posted that its "Hebron Cell" had carried out an operation in Kiryat Arba.
On March 8, 2023, the group claimed to have a cell in Gaza as well, called the Fares Jaber Brigade, after an operative of the Popular Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was killed in an Israeli drone attack in Gaza on November 2, 2010.
However, the real scope of the group's activities on the ground remains unclear. It seems that even some of the West Bank operations it has claimed were actually carried out by other elements, although collaboration between groups is also a possibility. On March 9, for instance, the group announced that three of its members in Jab'a, near Jenin, had been killed. But other sources claimed that the same operatives had belonged to the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the PIJ. On March 12 the group stated that three other operatives had been killed in clashes with the IDF in Nablus. One of them, it claimed, was "a founder of the Lone Wolf [Forces] cells in Nablus and Jenin and one of the field commanders in [our] revolutionary council." However, the Lion's Den also claimed the same operatives as its members.
Incitement, Encouragement Of Terror Against Israelis
The group is very active on Telegram, where it has three channels:
Telegram.me/awdh48, opened on March 7, 2022, but active only since June 8, 2022, which currently has 2,400 members. A March 11 post on this channel designated it as the group's official channel.
Telegram.me/alfgr725, opened on June 8, 2022, currently with 101 members. This channel is the source of some of the posts published on the other channels.
Telegram.me/wolf725, which currently has only 12 members and may be intended to serve as backup in case the other channels are shut down.
The content posted on these channels is spread by the groups' supporters in other social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
In addition to claiming attacks, the group encourages its supporters to carry out attacks on their own initiative. It posts instructional videos on carrying out attacks and preparing bombs, as well as messages and graphics inciting terror against Israel. Occasionally the group addresses the Israeli public in posts and graphics in broken Hebrew that threaten attacks on Israeli figures.
On February 24, 2023, the group posted a 1:30-minute video featuring "general advice" on perpetrating shooting attacks. The video simulates shots fired from a moving vehicle at Israelis walking on the sidewalk, waiting at bus stops and riding in other cars.
A video posted one day later addresses the precautions that should be taken by the shooter, such as firing from a hidden vantage point offering an easy escape route, wearing a mask and using a car with Israeli license plates.
A video on bomb making was posted on March 9, and the group promised that the next goal is [a video on preparing] a car bomb." On March 19 the group posted this video again, following it up two hours later with a message that said, "[Even] the greatest operation against the Zionist enemy does not cost more than $2,000. Instead of a weapon, prepare an explosive vest. You don't need anyone to prepare it for you. You can make it yourself. You are the next lone wolf."
A video posted March 4 threatens to target IDF headquarters located in population centers, such as the Kirya in Tel Aviv, the Northern Command headquarters in Safed, etc., in response to the Israeli claim that the Palestinians terror organizations locate their headquarters at the heart of population centers.
On March 24 the group announced that it would soon post a video on building drones that can carry up to five kg and can be "launched against the settlements of the entity in the [West] Bank and Jerusalem."
On March 18, Hizbullah's television channel Al-Manar posted one of the group's videos threatening to assassinate Israeli officials, such as President Isaac Herzog, former IDF chief-of-staff Aviv Kochavi, and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin.
*N. Mozes is a research fellow at MEMRI.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 13, 2023; March 15, 2023.
 See MEMRI JTTM report, "Iran-Backed Shi'ite Militias In Iraq: We Will Declare War Against U.S. Forces If They Don't Leave By End Of 2021," December 30, 2021.
 Kawalees.net, April 30, 2022; alqassam.ps, May 2, 2022.
 Telegram.me/alfgr725, accessed March 23, 2023.
 Telegram.me/alfgr725, June 8, 2022.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, July 17, 2022.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, February 24, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, February 24, 2023
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 1, 2023.
 Blacklist.pro-justice.org, accessed March 28, 2023.
The See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6051, Emergence Of 'Galilee Forces' – Palestinian Forces Fighting Alongside Syrian Regime, May 20, 2015.
 Al-Jarida (Kuwait), April 24, 2022.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, July 17, 2022.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 6, 2023.
 Khatib, an Israeli Arab from the Galilee, was killed in 2004 after trying to grab the weapon of an Israeli security guard.
 Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), July 5, 2008.
 Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), March 8, 2008.
 On November 21, 2012, for example, the group and Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, jointly claimed responsibility for a bus bombing in central Tel Aviv and for a breaching of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, in which they claimed that the embassy's head of security was killed and several others were wounded. Islamtimes.org, November 21, 2012.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, July 19, 2022; July 21, 2022; July 22, 2022; and March 22, 2023.
 Telegram.me/alfgr725, March 2, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 4, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awd48, March 13, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 14, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 15, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 27, 2023.
 See MEMRI JTTM post, "ISIS Official Media Claims Responsibility For Terrorist Attack In Hadera, Israel," March 27, 2022.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 25, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48. March 10, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48. March 9, 2023.
 Shms.ps, March 9, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 12, 2023.
 Aljazeera.net, March 12, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awd48, March 11, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, February 24, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, February 25, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 9, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 19, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 10, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 18, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 4, 2023.
 Telegram.me/awdh48, March 24, 2023.