Hamas deputy leader killed by drone strike in Beirut
A drone strike in the Lebanese capital Beirut has killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.
Hamas’ Al Aqsa Radio and Lebanon’s pro-Iranian Mayadeen TV confirmed word from security sources that Arouri, a member of the Palestinian Islamist movement’s politburo based abroad and a co-founder of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, had been eliminated when a drone struck a Hamas office in south Beirut.
Although there has been no official confirmation from Israeli military sources that they were responsible.
In all, the drone attack killed six people in the city’s southern suburb of Daliyeh, the Lebanese state news agency reported earlier, underlining the risk of the Israel-Hamas war spreading beyond the Gaza Strip.
Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah group, a Hamas ally, has been exchanging near-daily fire with Israel across Lebanon’s southern border since the Gaza war erupted in early October.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati has condemned the drone blast as a “new Israeli crime” and said it was an attempt to pull Lebanon into war.
In response to questions from Reuters, the Israeli military said it does not respond to reports in the foreign media.
Also, Lebanon-based Hamas allies Hezbollah vowed a “severe reaction” to assassinations carried out on Lebanese soil, and targeted a group of Israeli soldiers near Marj with a retaliatory missile strike of its own after al-Arouri’s killing.
Fears are escalating of the conflict erupting through the wider region after Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani insisted the killing would “undoubtedly ignite another surge in the veins of resistance and the motivation to fight against the Zionist occupiers, not only in Palestine but also in the region and among all freedom-seekers worldwide.”