Israel stated that the killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut was a “surgical strike against the Hamas leadership” and not an attack on Lebanon. Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev clarified the intent was not to target the Lebanese state or Hezbollah.
While Israel did not explicitly confirm responsibility for the assassination, Regev emphasized that the act targeted Hamas, not Lebanon or Hezbollah. Arouri, a key figure in Hamas and a liaison between Hamas and Hezbollah, was killed in a drone strike in southern Beirut. Hamas condemned the death, and Hezbollah considered it an assault on Lebanese sovereignty.
The incident heightened regional tensions, with Hezbollah vowing a response and Iran predicting a surge in resistance. Lebanon’s Prime Minister accused Israel of attempting to involve Lebanon in a confrontation, expressing concerns about being dragged into a regional war. Arouri’s death is a significant development in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, prompting the cancellation of an Israeli security cabinet meeting on Gaza’s post-war plan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously vowed to eliminate Hamas leaders wherever they are. Arouri, 57, was also considered the de facto leader of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank and had connections with Iran and Hezbollah.