Hamas Deputy Leader Killed in Israeli Strike on Lebanon; Hezbollah Issues Warning
A targeted Israeli airstrike claims the life of Hamas deputy leader in Lebanon, sparking concerns of widening conflict; Hezbollah vows retaliation.
Saleh al-Aruri, the deputy leader of Hamas, and his bodyguards were reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon,
This targeted strike, which allegedly claimed the lives of Aruri and his bodyguards, marks a critical development, amplifying fears of the ongoing conflict reaching beyond its current scope.
The strike specifically targeted a Hamas office situated in Beirut's southern suburbs, a known stronghold of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese movement that aligns itself with Hamas. The Israeli military, which previously targeted Hamas commanders during the conflict, has intensified its actions, with Aruri being the most high-profile figure claimed by the strikes.
While Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari did not explicitly confirm Aruri's death, he emphasized the military's preparedness for any scenario arising from the aftermath. This incident also marks the first strike on the Lebanese capital since the commencement of hostilities.
Lebanese state media reported that an Israeli drone executed the strike, hitting the Hamas office. Hamas TV corroborated this information, reporting Aruri's death in Lebanon. Lebanese media went further, reporting a total of seven casualties in the Israeli drone attack.
The repercussions of Aruri's assassination were swiftly expressed by Hamas, asserting that this act of violence would not lead to the group's downfall. On the other hand, Hezbollah, in a stern warning, vowed that Aruri's assassination would not go unanswered. Describing the incident as a severe assault on Lebanon, Hezbollah labeled it a perilous turn in the course of the ongoing war.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati of Lebanon condemned the murder, attributing it to an attempt to draw Lebanon deeper into the Israel-Hamas conflict. French President Emmanuel Macron, in response to the incident, urged Israel to exercise restraint, particularly in Lebanon, during a phone conversation with Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas, ongoing for almost three months, has seen a series of retaliatory actions. Hamas's attack on October 7 resulted in significant casualties in Israel, prompting an aggressive response. As the situation unfolds, the international community watches with growing concern, uncertain about the potential repercussions of this latest development.