The number two of the Palestinian armed group Saleh al Arouri died this Tuesday in an explosion in a southern suburb of Beirut. This has been confirmed by the organization itself through its radio station. For his part, Al Mayadeen, a television channel of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, also reported his death and later added that “the murder will not go unpunished.”

“We, Hezbollah, affirm that this crime will not go unanswered or unpunished. Our hands are on the trigger and our fighters are prepared at the highest level,” the Lebanese group said in a statement. “We consider the crime of assassinating Sheikh Saleh al-Aruri in the heart of the southern suburbs of Beirut to be a serious attack on Lebanon and a dangerous development in the course of the war,” he added..

Arouri, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, had led the group’s presence in the West Bank. Before the attack by the Islamist group Hamas on October 7, Al Arouri was Israel’s main target, considering him above all responsible for planning, financing and ordering, first from Turkey and then from Beirut, numerous attacks in and from the West Bank. The Israeli Government, however, did not give the green light to kill this well-known leader of Hamas abroad and one of the founders of its armed wing due to the possibility that his murder would provoke a large-scale confrontation in the Gaza Strip. . In the end, the order has been reversed. After 88 days of war in the Gaza Strip, a drone attacked an apartment in a Beirut suburb, killing Arouri and other Hamas members.

The fact that the selective airstrike occurred in the suburb of Dahiyah, in the south of Beirut, and stronghold of the Shiite group Hezbollah, raises the chances that its leader Hassan Nasrallah, very close to Arouri, will order a retaliation that goes further. beyond the drones and anti-tank missiles fired in recent months against northern Israel as a show of solidarity and support for Hamas.

Israeli authorities declined to comment, AP reports. However, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the explosion killed five other people and was carried out by an Israeli drone. The drone fired at least two missiles at the Hamas regional office located in the south of Beirut, where Al Arouri is believed to be located.

“The hostile attack that targeted the Hamas office, where a meeting of Palestinian factions was being held, caused the death of senior Hamas official in the West Bank Saleh al Arouri and three other people,” a toll that later rose to a total of six people, said the Lebanese state media, according to Efe. At the moment the identity of the rest of the victims and whether they were also part of the Islamist movement are unknown.

An explosion rocked the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital late Tuesday night in Beirut, causing chaos in the stronghold of the militant group Hezbollah, but the nature of the explosion was not immediately known. Amid initial confusion, it was unclear whether the explosion had caused any casualties in the Beirut suburb, but videos circulating on social media showed severe damage and fires. Finally, Hamas confirmed the “murder” of one of its commanders.

The explosion came after more than two months of intense exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and members of Hezbollah along Lebanon’s southern border.

Since the fighting began on October 8, it has been concentrated a few kilometers from the border, but on several occasions Israeli aircraft have attacked Hezbollah targets in deeper areas of Lebanon.

Earlier in the day, Hezbollah declared that its fighters had carried out several attacks along the Lebanese-Israeli border against Israeli military posts.