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BEIRUT: Israel martyred deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri on Tuesday night in a drone strike on Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahiyeh, a stronghold of the allied Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel had not taken responsibility for this attack, but “whoever did it, it must be clear: That this was not an attack on the Lebanese state.”
“Whoever did this did a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership,” Regev said in the interview.
Arouri was deputy head of Hamas’s politburo and a founder of its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.
He had spent time recently in both Lebanon and Qatar, which has mediated talks between Hamas and Israel including on hostages Hamas took in its Oct. 7 assault. The U.S., which brands Hamas a terrorist group, had last year offered $5 million for information on Arouri.
Hamas confirmed Arouri’s killing and said Qassam Brigade officials Samir Findi Abu Amer and Azzam Al-Aqraa Abu Ammar were also killed.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday said Arouri’s killing is a “terrorist act,” a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty and an expansion of Israel’s hostility against Palestinians.