Senior Hamas Leader Killed

January 3, 2024

But whoever did it, it must be clear – this was not an attack on the Lebanese state. … Whoever did this did a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership.

Senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, in an interview speaking about the death of a Hamas deputy leader during an attack in Lebanon on Tuesday. Regev said Israel “has not taken responsibility for this attack.”

Why It Matters: According to reports, Tuesday’s strike killed senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, marking the most high profile assassination of a senior Hamas political leader since the Hamas Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel sparked a war. His death, reported by Hamas as well as Palestinian and Lebanese security sources, “could heighten the risk of the Israel-Hamas war spreading well beyond the Gaza Strip,” as it occurred in Lebanon – a country neighboring Israel and where Hamas ally Hezbollah (both U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations) is based (Reuters).

Something to Consider: Hamas described al-Arouri, 57, as one of the architects of the Oct. 7 attack; he had also been considered “one of the most wanted men in the Middle East, with close ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Hezbollah” (Axios). In August 2023, he shared in an interview: “I am not afraid [of] their threats to kill me … I have already lived more than expected. I feel I passed the age I was supposed to die. … When I die as a martyr, I will welcome it.”

Context: America has offered upwards of a $5 million award for information on the whereabouts of Saleh al-Arouri, a designated “Specially Designated Global Terrorist; he was wanted for “terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings.”

Read More:

A Hamas official killed in a Beirut strike had been on Israel’s hit list for years (The Associated Press)

What to know about Saleh al-Arouri, the top Hamas official killed in Beirut (Axios)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas