How Hamas heavyweight al-Arouri and his men met their demise

Lebanese media warns 'Israel crossed Nasrallah’s line’ as tensions simmer to a boiling point in anticipation of terror group’s response; Hamas: ‘all options are open’; general strike called in Ramallah

Lior Ben-Ari, Einav Halabi|
The scene of Saleh al-Arouri's assassination in Beirut's Dahiyeh district
(Video: Reuters)

Tensions in Lebanon the day after the assassination of deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in the Dahiyeh district of Beirut are running high.
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While Israel has not yet taken responsibility for the attack, Lebanese international media reports unsurprisingly attribute it solely to the Jewish state.
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אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
The scene of Saleh al-Arouri's assassination in Beirut's Dahiyeh district
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)
7 View gallery
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)
7 View gallery
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)
Lebanese newspaper Nidaa al-Watan reported that al-Arouri was assassinated as he left Hamas offices in Beirut on Tuesday. He was directly hit by a missile aimed at him, and at least one other missile struck the offices themselves.
Photos from the scene also show a charred vehicle next to a building that was severely damaged. Along with him, six other Hamas operatives were killed - including two other senior members less known to the Israeli public, Samir Fandi and Azam al-Akra.
7 View gallery
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
אזור החיסול של אל-עארורי בביירות
The scene of Saleh al-Arouri's assassination in Beirut's Dahiyeh district
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)
According to the paper, al-Arouri’s assassination holds additional significant implications as it occurred in the Dahiyeh district - the heart of Hezbollah's activity in Beirut. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah reportedly chose to deliver his speech on Wednesday as planned, marking the anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by the U.S.
The Shiite cleric will discuss the "dangerous development in the Dahiyeh district" in his speech, and on Friday he will give another speech to mark a week since the death of former parliament member Mohammed Yaari, who was his advisor and died of illness.
Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar featured al-Arouri's portrait on its front page, saying that "hours before Hezbollah marked the anniversary of the assassination of the former Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, Israel decided to violate the rules of engagement with Lebanon and crossed the red line set by Nasrallah a few months ago."
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שער עיתון אל-אחבאר הלבנוני לבנון בהזדהות עם חיזבאללה
שער עיתון אל-אחבאר הלבנוני לבנון בהזדהות עם חיזבאללה
Al-Arouri's portrait on the front page of Al Akhbar
Hezbollah announced on Tuesday that there would be a response to the al-Arouri’s assassination, and "the finger is on the trigger."
Hamas said that "all options are open following the assassination of al-Arouri." After 89 days of fighting, it seems the terrorist organization will struggle to generate a significant response from the Gaza Strip - however, it could carry out such a response from Lebanon. Meanwhile, a general strike was taking place across the West Bank on Wednesday as Palestinian businesses throughout the territory left their gates closed.
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רמאללה במצב סגר מושבתת
רמאללה במצב סגר מושבתת
General strike called in Ramallah
Along with al-Arouri, two purportedly senior operatives in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing, were also killed. The first, Samir Fandi, was reportedly Hamas's liaison with the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The second is Azam al-Akra, who moved from Syria to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, orchestrated terrorist activities in the West Bank and found his demise in Lebanon.
Fandi, 54, a Hamas member of 30 years, was the de facto commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Lebanon. He began his career in the security mechanisms of the terrorist organization.
Lebanese officials provided Hezbollah this year with a list of Hamas operatives suspected of planning attacks against Israel from Lebanese soil, with Fandi prominently featured at the top.
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כרזות חמאס על ההרוגים של מנהיגי חמאס
כרזות חמאס על ההרוגים של מנהיגי חמאס
Hamas announces death of al-Arouri and two other senior Hamas officials
Following a rocket attack from Lebanon during Passover, Israeli authorities suspected that Fandi, in collaboration with al-Arouri, orchestrated the assault.
Al-Akra previously held a senior role within Hamas's leadership in Syria. Following a failed suicide bombing in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood in 2011, he was identified as the handler of one of the suspects.
Al-Akra orchestrated operations around the world, including China, Syria and Turkey. Following Hamas's departure from Syria due to the civil war, he relocated his base to Saudi Arabia, where he coordinated attacks in the West Bank. Subsequently, he moved to Turkey and settled in Istanbul.
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