The deputy leader of the political wing of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, died this Tuesday (2) after an attack with Israeli drones south of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The death of Arouri and two members of the military brigade was confirmed by Hamas itself, according to NNALebanese state news agency.
Arouri lived in Lebanon, after spending 15 years in prison in Israel. From exile, he acted as a kind of spokesman for Hamas since the beginning of the current conflict, with an Israeli massacre in Palestinian territory in response to the October 7 attack. He was considered a terrorist by the United States government.
After the death was confirmed, there were popular protests in the city of Ramallah (West Bank), the region where Arouri was born. The Palestinian press claims that a general strike was called for Wednesday (3) in response to the murder.
According to the Israeli newspaper Arutz Shevaan Israeli government official who works closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel “does not take responsibility” for the attack.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated that the attack was an Israeli action. He condemned the episode, which he called a “crime”. Mikati also said the attack could lead Lebanon to “a new phase in the confrontation.”
“This explosion is undoubtedly aimed at engulfing Lebanon, serving as a clear response to our efforts to keep the specter of the ongoing war in Gaza away from Lebanon. We call on the nations involved to pressure Israel to halt its attacks,” he said the Lebanese Prime Minister, cited by NNA.
The site of the attack is about 100 kilometers from the Lebanese border with Israeli territory, and is an area where Hezbollah operates. In November, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said the possibility of “all-out war” was realistic.
According to the television network Al Jazeera, the atmosphere in Beirut is one of tension and expectation regarding Hezbollah’s possible reaction. Nasrallah even mentioned that there would be strong retaliation in the event of deaths caused by Israel in Lebanese territory.
Editing: Nicolau Soares