Hezbollah leader vows response following killing of Hamas deputy leader in Beirut

Mohamed Badereldin, Friday 5 Jan 2024

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has responded strongly to the killing of Hamas deputy leader Saleh Al Arouri in Beirut, stating that a retaliation is "undoubtedly coming."

In this Oct. 24, 2015 file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah addresses a crowd during the holy day of Ashoura, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. AP


Nasrallah made these remarks during a speech on Friday, emphasizing that Hezbollah would not remain silent in the face of such a violation, as it would put all of Lebanon at risk.

Al Arouri had been living in exile in Beirut under the protection of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah praised Hezbollah's military strategy along the Lebanon-Israel front, stating that it has successfully maintained a balance of deterrence. He emphasized the opportunity to liberate every inch of Lebanese land and prevent further Israeli violations of borders and airspace.

Nasrallah also highlighted the unified resistance against Israel and the United States by the so-called Axis of Resistance, which consists of Iran-backed groups supporting Hamas in Gaza. He mentioned the chance to remove American forces from Iraq and how Yemen has exposed the U.S. for its actions in the Red Sea.

During his speech, Nasrallah revealed that Hezbollah had conducted 670 operations on the Lebanese-Israeli border in the past three months, averaging six to seven operations per day. He claimed that Hezbollah has successfully destroyed a significant number of tanks and equipment.

According to Nasrallah, the Israeli military is hiding its losses on the Lebanon-Israel front, and he criticized the accuracy of the figures presented by Israel. Israel has reported the deaths of nine soldiers and four civilians since Hezbollah initiated its cross-border conflict in October to deter Israel's assault on Gaza.

Nasrallah reiterated that Hezbollah opened a Lebanese front against Israel to pressure it to halt aggression against Gaza and alleviate military pressure on the region. He warned Israel against escalating the conflict, as the settlers in northern Israel would be the first to pay the price of a war on Lebanon.

In a significant statement, Nasrallah noted that, for the first time ever, Israel has established a buffer zone within its own borders, referring to the ongoing situation along the Lebanon-Israel frontier.

Lebanon responded to the targeted killing of Hamas deputy chief Saleh Al Arouri in Beirut by filing a complaint with the United Nations Security Council. The complaint, dated January 4 and recently seen by Reuters, describes the incident as the "most dangerous phase" of Israel's attacks on Lebanon.

According to the complaint, Israel utilized six missiles in the attack that resulted in the death of Al Arouri. Additionally, Lebanon accuses Israel of exploiting Lebanese airspace to carry out bombings in Syria.

The killing of Saleh Al Arouri has heightened tensions in the region, and Lebanon's complaint to the UN Security Council underscores the gravity of the situation. By submitting the complaint, Lebanon seeks international recognition and condemnation of an unlawful act of aggression by Israel.

The targeted killing has added further tension to the Israeli war on Gaza and the near-daily exchanges of fire along the border between Lebanon and Israel.

On Thursday, hundreds of people attended the funeral in Beirut of Hamas deputy leader Saleh Al Arouri, who was assassinated in a strike that Lebanon blamed on Israel.

Mourners gathered at a mosque to recite the prayer of the dead before marching to the Shatila refugee camp, where three of the deceased were to be buried. The coffins of Saleh Al Arouri, Azzam Al-Aqraa of the Hamas military wing Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, and Mohammad Al-Rais were draped in Palestinian and Hamas flags.

A machine gun was placed on top of each coffin, and heavy gunfire rang out as the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery. Mourners waved Palestinian flags while chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).

Lebanese and Hamas security officials accused Israel of carrying out the attack, with a high-level Lebanese security official stating that guided missiles targeted the individuals. While Israel has not claimed responsibility, a U.S. defense official confirmed Israel's involvement in the attack.

Nasrallah, in a speech on Wednesday, warned Israel against initiating a war in Lebanon and pledged that Hezbollah would respond without restraint. Several Hamas figures in exile reside in Lebanon, under the protection of Hezbollah. Since the outbreak of the Israeli war on Gaza in October, there have been near-daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah along the border area.

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