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Hamas leader killed in a drone strike in Beirut

Context:

  • Recently, one of Hamas’s most senior officials Saleh al-Arouri, was killed in an Israeli drone strike in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • The drone hit a Hamas office which is located in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahiyeh.
  • It was a Hezbollah stronghold location and left six people dead.
  • The Israeli government is yet to publicly claim the responsibility for the attack but one Israeli and two US officials confirmed to Axios that Israel was behind the drone strike.

Who was Saleh al-Arouri?

  • He was 57 years old and belongs to a village near Ramallah and joined Hamas in 1987.
  • He helped to establish the group’s military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades and also remained deeply involved in its operations.
  • He also founded the West Bank headquarters of Hamas.
  • He spent nearly 15 years in Israeli prison after which he was deported to Jordan back in the yea 2010.
  • Recently al-Arouri resided in Beirut, where he acted as a Hamas ambassador to Hezbollah which is a Lebanese Islamic militant organisation backed by Iran.
  • When Saleh al-Arouri was elected as deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau observers saw the development as a sign of the growing influence of Iran over Hamas.
  • In 2015, the US designated him as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and has for years offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

What does his killing mean for the conflict?

  • Saleh al-Arouri was one of the top-ranking officials of Hamas and his death comes as a major blow to the grouping.
  • However, Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said like the previous assassinations of its members, the organisation’s operation won’t be influenced by the attack.
  • It is believed that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah would escalate as Saleh al-Arouri was killed in the heart of Lebanon.
  • It is also rumoured that Israel has already begun to prepare for the retaliation.
  • Israeli officials told Axios that Hezbollah might launch long-range precision-guided missiles on major cities like Haifa and Tel Aviv.

The post Hamas leader killed in a drone strike in Beirut appeared first on Vajirao IAS.

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