Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri was killed in an alleged Israeli drone strike in Beirut on January 2, The Times of Israel reported.
The terrorist organisation Hamas has also confirmed that Israel killed its deputy commander, Saleh al-Arouri, in Lebanon earlier tonight.
“The cowardly assassinations 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 steadfastness of our people or in undermining the continuation of their valiant resistance,” senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said in a statement, according to The Times of Israel. However, Israel is yet to comment on the strike that has killed the senior Hamas leader. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, condemned the alleged killing of Saleh al-Arouri.
He issued a statement responding to the alleged killing of Hamas deputy leader, terming it a “new Israeli crime” and forewarned, saying Tel Aviv is aiming to drag Lebanon into the conflict.
Al-Arouri, 57, a resident of Lebanon, served as the political bureau’s deputy director for the terror group and was regarded as the de facto head of Hamas’s military branch in the West Bank.
He was freed from Israeli prisons in March 2010 after serving many periods there as part of negotiations to secure a bigger prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier who was abducted by Hamas in 2006. Later, Arouri was instrumental in negotiating Shalit’s 2011 release in exchange for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons, The Times of Israel reported.
He moved to Istanbul but was forced to move from there after Israel restored relations with Turkey after the two countries had cut their ties over an IDF attack on a Gaza-bound solidarity flotilla that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens in a bloody altercation aboard a ship. Al-Arouri resided in Syria before relocating to Beirut.
From there, he oversaw the military operations of Hamas in the West Bank, encouraging acts of terror and setting up the money transfers necessary to finance such assaults, The Times of Israel report stated.
Additionally, he was among the Hamas executives with close ties to Iran and the terrorist organisation Hezbollah in Lebanon.
(with inputs from ANI)