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Salah al-Arouri, vice chairman of Hamas’s political bureau and founder of its military wing, died in an explosion south of the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, the Palestinian militant group confirmed.
The blast, which killed five other people, occurred in the Dahiyah neighborhood.
Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, has close ties with the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, where the explosion occurred.
Salah Al Arouri, The 57-year-old was the vice chairman of Hamas’ political bureau and the founding commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, the group’s military wing.
He was involved in a deal in which more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for one Israeli soldier in 2006.
Al Arouri joined Hamas in 1987, leading the Islamic student movement and helping establish the group’s military presence in the West Bank.
risk to israel
Analysis by Paul Adams, BBC Diplomacy correspondent
At first glance, there is no doubt that Israel was responsible for the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri.
The “whoever did it” line used by government adviser Mark Regev in an interview with MSNBC was unnecessary.
His insistence that “this was not an attack against the Lebanese state” makes clear that Israel is eager to persuade the world – and particularly the authorities in Beirut – that this operation was a central part of Israel’s dispute with Hamas. There was, and is not, part of widespread interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, congratulated the Israeli military and intelligence services for their role, while completely denying ulterior motives.
But while Israel had a very specific target in mind, there is clearly risk in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in the Lebanese capital.
The fact that the killing took place in Dahiyah, a Hezbollah stronghold, may be difficult for the powerful Shia militia to ignore.
In August, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned of a “severe response” to any deadly Israeli attack on Lebanese territory.
Hezbollah and Israeli forces have been exchanging fire along Israel’s northern border for months, but the clashes – though sometimes deadly – have generally been limited.
Nasrallah called the war in Gaza a “purely Palestinian fight” in a speech in November, but the killing of an important Palestinian guest in his own backyard means some kind of reaction is likely somewhere.
their target is israel
The Israeli military told the BBC it would not comment on foreign media reports linking it to what happened in Beirut.
Despite this, according to Israeli media, a military spokesman said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) They are on maximum alert,
Daniel Hagari said, “The IDF is at a very high level of preparedness in all areas, defense and offense. We are at a high level of preparedness for any scenario.”
“The most important thing we can say tonight is that we are focused on fighting Hamas and we will remain focused,” he said.
For his part, the Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, He described the explosion as “a crime”. Whose “aim is to drag Lebanon into a new phase of confrontation with Israel.”
The incident comes after fighting escalated between Israeli forces and Hezbollah on the Israel-Lebanon border since October 7.
That day, Hamas launched an attack on Israeli territory that killed 1,200 people, prompting Israel to launch a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip that killed more than 20,000 people.
Late last month, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Israeli military would take action to drive Hezbollah out of the border if Hezbollah attacks continued.
Hezbollah is believed to be a terrorist organization By Western countries, Israel, the Arab Gulf countries and the Arab League.
Funded by Iran, it is one of the most heavily armed non-state military forces in the world.
According to state media, this Tuesday Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said that the explosion in Beirut “will undoubtedly ignite another wave in the nerves of resistance and motivation to fight.”
Kanani said this would also encourage resistance to fighting against Israel, not only in the Palestinian territories but also in the region and “among all freedom seekers around the world.”
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