Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas leader, assassinated in Beirut suburb

According to Palestinian organizations and Lebanese media agencies, an Israeli drone strike on the southern suburb of Dahiyeh in Beirut has claimed the life of senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri.

Tuesday’s deadly “treacherous Zionist strike” claimed the life of Al-Arouri, according to Hamas’ official channel. “Cowardly assassination” was the description given by Hamas politburo member Izzat al-Sharq.

Despite being a high-ranking member of Hamas’ politburo, Al-Arouri was notoriously active in the organization’s military affairs. Prior to this, he oversaw the organization’s operations in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli drone, according to the state-run National News Agency of Lebanon, was responsible for the explosion that claimed at least six lives.

Hamas has assured that the death of al-Arouri will not “undermine the continued valiant resistance” in Gaza, where its militants are engaged in combat with Israeli ground forces.

“It once again demonstrates the enemy’s complete failure to accomplish any of its aggressive objectives in the Gaza Strip,” said Izzat al-Rishq, a senior Hamas official.

Israel issued no immediate statement in response

Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated on MSNBC that although Israel had not claimed responsibility for the attack, “it must be made clear that this was not an attack on the Lebanese state,” whoever was responsible.

“Whoever executed this mission executed a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership,” Regev stated in an interview with MSNBC.

The attack “aims to draw Lebanon” deeper into the Israel-Hamas conflict, the prime minister of Lebanon stated in condemnation of the slaying.

His office issued the following statement: “Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the explosion in the southern suburbs of Beirut that killed and injured numerous people.”

The statement stated that the attack “aims to draw Lebanon into a new phase of confrontations” with Israel at a time when Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and Israeli forces in northern Israel have been exchanging daily cross-border firing.

“Perilous escalation”

Zeina Khodr of Al Jazeera, reporting from Beirut, stated that the attack induced “panic” in the capital of Lebanon.

“Many residents of the capital harboured the impression that this conflict might expand and intensify in light of the targeted killings; the response of Hezbollah is now the focus of attention,” Khodr explained.

State media reported that Iran, commenting on the development, stated that al-Arouri’s death would further galvanise the resistance against Israel.

Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, stated that the blood of the martyr will undoubtedly rekindle another surge of resistance and the desire to fight against the Zionist occupiers, not only in Palestine but also in the region and among all freedom-seekers around the world.

Kanaani further denounced the belligerent Zionist regime’s infringement upon the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon.

Long before Israel’s most recent assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to execute al-Arouri.

According to Israeli political analyst Akiva Eldar, Netanyahu desperately needs this death to occur.

Israeli Attack Aimed at Elusive Victory and Triumph for Military and Politics

Director of research at the Arab Centre in Washington, DC, Imad Harb, concurred, stating that Israel launched the attack in pursuit of a victory that has proven illusive.

“The Israelis have yet to declare a victory in Gaza, so in part, they intended to carry out the assassination of Hamas leaders regardless,” he explained. “This represents a triumph for both the Israeli military and Israeli politics.”

Since October 8, intense exchanges of fire have concentrated fighting a few kilometers from the Lebanese-Israeli border. However, Israel’s air force has on multiple occasions struck what it claims to be Hezbollah positions deeper within Lebanon.

Harb characterised al-Arouri’s execution as a “dangerous escalation” due to the fact that it occurred in the operational zone of Hezbollah, which is remote from the frontier between Lebanon and Israel.

He stated that although Hezbollah will likely intensify its attacks against Israel in retaliation for the death, the conflict will not escalate into an all-out war.

In the interim, mosques in Arura, the deceased Hamas commander in the West Bank’s hometown, are in mourning.

Additionally, protests and gatherings are occurring in Ramallah and a number of neighbouring communities, including Deir Qaddis.

Furthermore, Ramallah has declared a general boycott for Wednesday.

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