Hamas deputy leader Saleh Al Arouri assassinated in Lebanon

Saleh Al Arouri

Hamas has confirmed the assassination of its deputy chief Saleh Arouri in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

The Palestinian group said that two commanders of its armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, were also killed.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency earlier reported that Arouri was killed in an Israeli drone strike on a Hamas office in Mecherfeh, southern Beirut. At least six people were killed in the attack.

Arouri, 57, is the most senior Hamas leader to have been killed by Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict on October 7. He was the Deputy Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas and founder of the Martyr Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.

A freed prisoner who spent 18 years in Israeli prisons, Arouri, from Arara in Ramallah, was instrumental in escalating resistance in the West Bank, and establishing the Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011.

Izzat Al-Rishq, a member of the Political Bureau of Hamas,  said: “The cowardly assassination operations carried out by the Zionist occupation against the leaders and symbols of our Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine, will not succeed in breaking the will and resilience of our people, or in undermining the continuity of its valiant resistance.

“They prove once again the utter failure of this enemy in achieving any of its aggressive objectives in the Gaza Strip.”

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad said: “The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement mourns the great national leader, the Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau, Sheikh Saleh Al-Arouri, and his martyr brothers, following a cowardly and treacherous assassination operation carried out by the Israeli enemy in the southern suburbs of Beirut [Dahye] this evening.

“The assassination of the martyr leader Al-Arouri and his companions is an attempt by the Israeli enemy to expand the scope of confrontation and drag the entire region into war to escape from their military field failure in the Gaza Strip and the political impasse faced by the government of the Israeli entity, following their failure after 90 days of barbaric war and genocide to impose their conditions on our people. Rather, the forces of resistance had the upper hand both politically and militarily.

“As we exalt the martyrdom of leader Al-Arouri and his brothers to our Palestinian people and to our Arab and Islamic nation, we affirm that this crime will not go unpunished, and that the resistance will continue until the occupation is defeated.”

And Ansarallah Houthi spokesman, Mohammad Abdul Salam said: “We extend our condolences to the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas on the martyrdom of the deputy head of the movement’s political bureau, Sheikh Saleh Al-Arouri, following the cowardly Israeli assassination that targeted him in Al-Dahye, southern Beirut.

“We strongly condemn the assassination, which constitutes a treacherous aggression against Lebanon, and we affirm our support for the resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon.”

As yet there has been little Israeli reaction and Israeli media is reporting that ministers have been ordered to not give interviews on Al Arouri’s killing.

This came after Member of Parliament Danny Danon congratulated Israel’s security services and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich indirectly commented in a post on X, formerly Twitter, writing “All your enemies will perish, Israel.”

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