Israeli drone strike assassinates Hamas deputy leader in Beirut
01/05/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

Israel has been blamed for the death of Hamas Deputy Chief Saleh al-Arouri to a drone strike in Beirut, Lebanon.

The incident occurred in Beirut's southern suburbs on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 2. Southern Beirut is known to be an area under the influence, if not the direct control, of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The strike, which Hezbollah attributed to Israel, targeted a Hamas office during a meeting with the Lebanese Sunni Islamist political party the Islamic Group. The strike resulted in the deaths of three Lebanese and four Palestinian individuals, including al-Arouri.

Video footage of the aftermath of the strike that circulated on social media shows a burning car and extensive damage to nearby buildings. It is feared that the incident could lead to a potential escalation of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip, expanding the violence to encompass more regions.

Israel, consistent with its policy, has refrained from officially claiming responsibility for the drone strike. Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, noted that "whoever did it, it must be clear: That this was not an attack on the Lebanese state." Without directly claiming responsibility for the strike, Regev further characterized the attack as "a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership."

Al-Arouri played a crucial role within Hamas, serving as the deputy head of its politburo and contributing to the founding of its military wing, the Qassam Brigades. He was stationed in Lebanon by Hamas senior leadership to act as a liaison between the group and Hezbollah.

Al-Arouri is the most senior Hamas figure to be killed since Oct. 7. He is also the first Hamas official outside internationally recognized Palestinian territory to be targeted by Israel since the outbreak of the current conflict.

The situation has significantly heightened tensions in the region, prompting strong reactions from Hezbollah and other groups condemning the incident. Israel, in response, declared a state of high readiness for potential developments.

Hamas, Hezbollah vow retaliation for drone strike

Following the attack, Hamas confirmed Al-Arouri's death and pledged retaliation, with Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas's political bureau, denouncing the assassination as a "cowardly … terrorist act, a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty and an expansion of its circle of aggression."

Hezbollah, which controls security in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh where the strike occurred, condemned al-Arouri's assassination as a serious assault on Lebanon, its people, security, sovereignty and resistance against Zionism.

Following the attack, Hezbollah warned that it "will not go without a response or punishment." The group asserted its readiness to retaliate and announced a series of attacks on Israeli forces stationed directly across Lebanon's southern border, though specific details of the operations were not provided. (Related: Lebanon’s Hezbollah says it is “prepared and ready” to join the war against Israel.)

Iran, a major supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah, warned Israel that al-Arouri's assassination would "undoubtedly ignite another surge in the veins of resistance" to Zionism.

Even the official government of Lebanon responded negatively to the assassination, with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati calling the drone strike a "new Israeli crime" and emphasizing how this strike could end up dragging Lebanon into a new phase of the conflict in Gaza.

He urged the international community to pressure Israel into ceasing its attacks on Lebanese territory, and his government has filed an official complaint with the United Nations Security Council.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib further noted that the government was talking to Hezbollah, urging the organization to not respond directly. He expressed concerns about Lebanon being dragged into a regional war and called on the West to pressure Israel to stop targeting Lebanon and to stop its indiscriminately violent campaign in Gaza.

Watch this clip from Hindustan Times discussing at least 10 confirmed Hezbollah attacks on Israel within 14 hours following the assassination of al-Arouri.

This video is from the White Knight channel on

More related stories:

Reuters journalist killed by Israeli missile fire in Lebanon while covering Israel-Hamas war.

Hezbollah strikes Northern Israel with four rockets, destroying key IDF base.

Rioters set fire to U.S. Embassy in Beirut after Hezbollah calls for 'day of rage.'

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