The leader of Hezbollah, the influential armed group in Lebanon condemned the killing of the deputy chief of Hamas in Beirut and termed it as a “significant and perilous crime that cannot be ignored.”
In a recent televised statement, Hasan Nasrallah attributes the attack to Israel, extending condolences to Hamas and denouncing the incident as a “blatant Israeli aggression” resulting in the death of Saleh al-Arouri. The strike occurred on Tuesday in Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut.
While Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari refrains from directly addressing al-Arouri’s killing, he asserts the military’s high readiness for any potential developments.
Meanwhile, David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, pledges to pursue every Hamas member involved in the October 7 attack on Israel, indicating a strong connection to the recent blast that claimed al-Arouri’s life.
This incident marks the first attack on Beirut in nearly three months, following a period of intense daily exchanges between the Israeli military and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Hezbollah had initiated rocket launches in support of Hamas after their assault on southern Israel on October 8, prompting Israel’s significant response in the form of a bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip.
Hezbollah is aligned with the “axis of resistance,” a loosely connected coalition of armed groups with ties to Iran, including Hamas in Palestine and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Nasrallah asserts that Hezbollah’s prompt action on October 8 and subsequent cross-border shelling prevented a more extensive Israeli bombing campaign in Lebanon. He emphasizes that if Israel were to initiate a war, Hezbollah would engage without limitations or rules.
Despite the current tensions, there is no immediate indication of direct escalation, according to Andrea Dessi, an assistant professor of international relations at the American University of Rome.
Dessi suggests that Hezbollah, while defending its credibility, is hesitant to initiate a major war and is engaged in a delicate balancing act, as Nasrallah indicates that ongoing conflict in southern Lebanon will persist, but a full-scale offensive by Israel would trigger a comprehensive military response from Hezbollah.