Hamas has confirmed the death of its number two, Saleh al Arouri, in what appears to be an Israeli-led attack on the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Deputies from the Government party and a member of the Pentagon have directly pointed to the Israeli Army as responsible. The Israel Defense Forces have not confirmed its authorship, claiming that they do not respond to information in foreign media.
The strong explosion that shook a neighborhood in the south of Beirut this Tuesday afternoon left at least six dead and several injured, according to the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA).
The Lebanese television channel Al Mayadin has reported that the explosion was caused by three missiles launched by an Israeli drone against the suburb of the capital known as Dahiya, a bastion of the Shiite political and armed movement Hezbollah.
Al Arouri was a veteran member of Hamas and was one of the founders of the Islamist group’s armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades. Since 2010 he was part of the political office of Hamas – the main executive body of the movement – and in 2017 he was appointed right-hand man of its political leader, Ismail Haniyeh.
According to the Mapping Palestinian Politics portal, Al Arouri led the Hamas delegation during reconciliation talks with the rival Palestinian group Fatah. He joined Hamas in 1987 and was detained from 1992 to 2007.
“The cowardly murders perpetrated by the Zionist occupation against the leaders and symbols of our Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine will not break the will and firmness of our people nor undermine the continuation of their courageous resistance,” Izzat said in a statement. al Rishq, senior Hamas official.
For its part, the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, which also has a presence in Beirut, has assured that its secretary general, Ziad Najala, was not the target of this Tuesday’s Israeli attack and is “fine.”
The Lebanese Prime Minister, Nayib Mikati, has condemned the explosion in the south of Beirut and has indicated that it is “a new Israeli crime whose objective is to lead Lebanon to a new phase of clashes, after the continuous daily attacks in the south ” of the country, according to the NNA.
The Likud deputy and former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Sanny Danon has congratulated the Army and the secret services for “killing Saleh al Arouri in Beirut.” The country’s Secretary of State, Yossi Fuchs, has asked deputies and ministers not to comment on the incident.