In a targeted drone strike on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, Saleh Al-Arouri, the deputy leader of Hamas, met his demise along with at least three others as Israel continued its offensive against the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023.
Lebanon’s state media reported that the drone attack hit the Hamas office in Southern Beirut, marking a significant development in the ongoing conflict.
Al-Arouri, a 57-year-old leader, had a tumultuous history, serving multiple terms in Israeli jails before his release in March 2010 as part of a larger prisoner swap.
He played a crucial role in negotiating the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for the freedom of IDF corporal Gilad Shalit in 2011.
Having relocated to Istanbul and later moving due to improved Israel-Turkey relations, Al-Arouri remained a prominent figure closely connected to Iran and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon.
In recent weeks, he served as a spokesperson for Hamas, emphasizing the resistance’s readiness for various military scenarios and expressing a firm stance on a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.
The United States had designated Al-Arouri as a “global terrorist” in 2015, offering a five million dollar reward for information leading to his capture.
Israel’s former envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, celebrated the news, extending congratulations to the IDF, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, and the security forces for eliminating a key figure linked to the 7/10 massacre.
As tensions escalate in the Middle East, Al-Arouri’s death further complicates an already volatile situation, adding another layer to the complex dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.