**Israel’s Attack on Gaza Escalates: Understanding the Assassination of Hamas Leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut**
The recent assassination of senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri in a drone strike in Beirut’s southern suburbs has sparked an escalation in the conflict between Israel and Gaza. The killing of al-Arouri has not only evoked strong reactions from Hamas and Palestine but has also prompted responses from both Israel and Lebanon. In this article, we will delve into the details of the event and explore its implications on the ongoing conflict in the region.
**Who was Saleh al-Arouri?**
Saleh al-Arouri, aged 57, served as the deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau and played a pivotal role as one of the founders of the group’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades. Having spent 15 years in an Israeli jail, al-Arouri had been living in exile in Lebanon. His recent responsibilities included serving as the spokesperson for Hamas, where he affirmed the group’s stance on not engaging in an exchange deal for captives held by them before the war in Gaza came to an end. In 2015, the United States designated al-Arouri as a “global terrorist” and issued a $5 million reward for any information on him.
**Israel’s Perspective on al-Arouri’s Death**
While there has been no official response from Israel regarding the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, emphasized that Israel did not take responsibility for the attack. However, he acknowledged that the target of the attack was the Hamas leadership. Former Israeli envoy to the United Nations, Danny Danon, openly endorsed the attack and commended the Israeli army and intelligence agencies for the operation. This development has added further complexity to the already volatile situation in the region.
**Lebanon’s Reaction to the Assassination**
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the attack on the Beirut suburb, denouncing it as a “new Israeli crime” and warning against Lebanon being dragged into the conflict. Additionally, Hezbollah, a prominent political and militant group in Lebanon, strongly condemned the assault on the capital and vowed that it “will not pass without punishment”. These reactions from Lebanon underscore the heightened tensions and the potential repercussions of the attack.
The assassination of Saleh al-Arouri has not only impacted the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but has also brought Lebanon into the spotlight amidst the escalating tensions. As the situation continues to unfold, it is imperative for all parties involved to exercise restraint and seek diplomatic avenues to address the underlying issues. The repercussions of this targeted killing have the potential to have far-reaching implications, urging a critical reevaluation of the strategies and approaches employed in the region.