Hezbollah warned al-Arouri that Israel was tracking him, report says

Al Akhbar reports offices evacuated following Oct. 7, reoccupied for first time just hours before attack; documents pertaining to Hamas stored in offices 'removed'

Lior Ben-Ari|
Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported Thursday morning new details about the assassination of Ismail Haniyeh's deputy, Saleh Al-Arouri, in the heart of the Dahieh district in Beirut.
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Before the assassination, as revealed in the report, radar systems detected the presence of fighter jets offshore and drones in the vicinity of Beirut.
3 View gallery
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah; Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri
(Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo)
Reports in Lebanon claimed that before his assassination, al-Arouri, whom Hamas dubbed "The Architect of October 7," received a warning from Hezbollah that Israel was tracking him.
However, they are also trying to uncover how his location was compromised. Right after the dramatic assassination, Arab media outlets reported that the target was Hamas offices in the Dahieh district. Lebanese reports now indicate that the attacked office was an older facility belonging to the organization, which was under surveillance.
Al Akhbar reported that following the October 7 massacre, those offices were evacuated and were reoccupied for the first time just hours before the recent attack.
The investigation into the assassination is being conducted by official Lebanese authorities after Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati labeled the act an "Israeli crime" and alleged a breach of sovereignty.
However, Lebanese reports indicate that after the explosion at the site, "elements" - not attributed to any organization - "cleaned up the area" before Lebanese army intelligence could arrive. "Hamas documents stored in the offices were removed," Al Akhbar reported.
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אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
Scene of al-Arouri's assassination in Beirut
(Photo: AP /Adel Hana, File)
In an article published Thursday morning by the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar, it was written that Al-Arouri's assassination "confirms Israel's inability to accept the current reality and its future implications, whether in Gaza or on the northern front."
It stated that Israel, which has not officially taken responsibility for the assassination, needed to restore its deterrence and try "to push the resistance to accept the diplomatic solution promoted by the U.S. and the West."
According to the article's author, the timing of the attack comes ahead of the third phase of the war in Gaza and amid the arrival of Amos Hochstein, President Joe Biden's special envoy, to the region. "Israel saw the timing as an opportunity to clarify that the third stage is not about stopping the war but rather continuing the pursuit of Hamas and its leaders, if not in Gaza, then abroad."
Sources speaking to Al Akhbar claimed that Israel didn't aim to provoke a confrontation with Hezbollah but rather to embarrass the organization. "Any response to the assassination will provoke counter-reactions against Lebanon's involvement in the war, and a lack of response from Hezbollah will lead to accusations against the terror organization for 'lack of support' to the resistance axis."
3 View gallery
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
(Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo)
A Lebanese security official speaking with AFP news agency Wednesday claimed that the fighter jet attacking the building fired six missiles, four of which exploded - and two penetrated the roof, destroying two floors before directly hitting the Hamas leaders' meeting room. He emphasized the "utmost precision" of the attack and the considerable weight of the missiles, which he said weigh about 100 kg each. "Such missiles are used by Israeli fighter jets," he claimed.
Photos from the scene also show a severely damaged vehicle next to a heavily damaged building. Along with al-Arouri, six other Hamas members were killed - including two senior members less known to the Israeli public, Samir Fandy and Azam al-Akra.
Al-Arouri, 57, was the deputy of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas' politburo, and was responsible for the activities of the terror organization's military wing in the West Bank. One of the operations orchestrated by the West Bank headquarters under al-Arouri's leadership was the kidnapping and murder of three teenagers, Gil-Ad Michael Shaer, Yaakov Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, in the summer of 2014, which led to the launch of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Following the murder of the teenagers, Israel demolished al-Arouri's family home in his birth village.
About two months ago, the IDF demolished al-Arouri's home, and afterward placed on the ruins a sign with a split flag of Hamas and ISIS, with the inscription "Hamas = ISIS" in Arabic. Security forces seized the house and used it for about a week and a half until the commander of the Central Command, Yehuda Fox, signed an expropriation and demolition order.
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