On Tuesday, a blast in Beirut resulted in the death of Saleh al-Arouri, a high-ranking member of the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, along with multiple others. According to officials from both Hamas and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, the explosion occurred.
The explosion in the Beirut suburb of Musharafieh, which occurred on Tuesday, was reportedly caused by an Israeli drone according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. Israeli officials have chosen not to respond to the reports. While there are conflicting reports on the number of casualties, Hamas has confirmed that two of its military leaders were among the six members of the group who were killed in the blast.
If the attack is attributed to Israel, it could signify a significant increase in the level of escalation..
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader who has previously promised to respond to any Israeli attacks on Palestinian officials in Lebanon, stated on local TV, “We are determined to not let this crime go unanswered and unpunished.”
A cash prize of $5 million is being offered for any details on al-Arouri, as he has been connected to various acts of terrorism, hijackings, and abductions.
The blast caused tremors in Musharafieh, a neighborhood in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, which is known as a stronghold of the militant organization Hezbollah. Hezbollah is an ally of Hamas and is backed by Iran, making it one of the most heavily armed non-state military forces in the world.
The detonation occurred after a period of over two months of intense clashes between Israeli soldiers and members of Hezbollah at the southern border of Lebanon. Casualties have been reported on both sides, and Israel has relocated numerous civilians from nearby towns.
The conflict has primarily focused on an area near the border, but there have been instances where Israel’s air force has targeted Hezbollah locations further into Lebanon. On Tuesday, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on Israeli military posts along the Lebanon-Israel border.
In the last month, Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet and former defense minister, stated that if Hezbollah continues to attack along the border, Israel’s military will take action to push them back into Lebanon.