Saleh al-Arouri, a deputy political leader of Hamas, was killed in an incident in Beirut.
Reports suggest that a drone strike targeted a Hamas office in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, resulting in his death along with six others, including two Hamas military commanders and four additional members.
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev, while not explicitly confirming Israel’s involvement, referred to the incident as a “surgical strike against the Hamas leadership.”
He emphasized that it was not an attack on the Lebanese state or Hezbollah, characterizing it as a specific action against Hamas.
Arouri, aged 57, was a key figure in the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, and played a crucial role in connecting his group with Hezbollah.
His death marks the most senior Hamas figure to be killed since Israel’s conflict with the group in October 2023.
Hamas condemned the incident, labeling it a “cowardly terrorist act” and a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, also denounced the event as a serious assault on Lebanon, its people, and its resistance.
The Lebanese Prime Minister accused Israel of attempting to draw Lebanon into a confrontation. Lebanon’s state news agency reported that the drone attack occurred in a busy residential area, causing damage to buildings and igniting a car.
Hezbollah issued a strong response, stating that they considered Arouri’s death a dangerous development in the ongoing conflict and vowed not to let the incident pass without a response and punishment.
Iran, a significant supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah, predicted that Arouri’s killing would fuel resistance.
Meanwhile, concerns have risen about potential escalation, with Lebanon urging restraint and dialogue to avoid being dragged into a regional war.
The international community, particularly the West, has been called upon to pressure Israel to halt its actions in Lebanon and Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously expressed the intention to eliminate Hamas leaders wherever they are.
Arouri’s multifaceted role within Hamas, including leadership in the military wing and connections to Iran and Hezbollah, adds complexity to the geopolitical implications of his death.
The situation remains tense, with the possibility of further responses and repercussions in the coming days.