Israel’s Assassination of Arouri – How Will Hezbollah, Resistance Respond?

(Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

What are the possible scenarios following Israel’s assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, in Lebanon?

The assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, along with other Al-Qassam leaders, constituted a major shock. Al-Arouri was killed in Lebanon by several missiles fired by an Israeli drone while in an office in West Beirut on Tuesday, January 2.

The top Hamas official and founder of the Qassam Brigades in the West Bank had already received direct threats from Israel. 

Last August, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli government was considering the assassination of al-Arouri. 

The Lebanese Resistance movement Hezbollah said on Tuesday that Israel’s will not go unpunished, and that the resistance will respond.

Hezbollah Stronghold

The southern suburb of Beirut is considered the main stronghold of Hezbollah.

Inhabited by about one million people, it has a prominent presence of the party, in addition to its official headquarters, the offices of its deputies and leaders, and their homes.

The assassination of Arouri came shortly before Nasrallah’s expected speech.

Israeli Channel 13 claimed that Nasrallah and Arouri were supposed to be meeting on Wednesday. 

According to Al-Jazeera, this is “the harshest operation in the suburb since the July 2006 war”.

In 2019, Israel carried out an operation in the southern suburb near a Hezbollah media relations office, but it was limited to material damage in the area.


The assassination came after the announcement by Israeli authorities that Israel was withdrawing some forces from Gaza to shift to prepare for a possible flare-up of the northern front against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that the assassination was “a new Israeli crime (that) aims to bring Lebanon into a new phase of confrontations after the ongoing daily attacks in the south.”

For its part, Hezbollah said in a statement that the assassination of Arouri and his fellow martyrs is “a dangerous attack on Lebanon, and a dangerous development in the course of the war between the Israeli occupation and the axis of resistance,” adding that the “crime will never go without response or punishment.”

Possible Scenarios

According to Al-Jazeera, analysts think that “the assassination of Al-Arouri brought the confrontation between the party and Israel into a new and dangerous turn” 

“Many believe that the party is facing a test, as Nasrallah repeatedly threatened that any assassination of a leader in the Lebanese or Palestinian resistance inside Lebanon and the Lebanese interior would be met with a clear Israeli response,” Al-Jazeera added.

Lebanese political analyst Tawfiq Shoman told Al-Jazeera that the assassination is likely to lead to a dangerous escalation because Israel crossed a red line. 

According to Shoman, Israel’s operation cannot pass without a major response, because “any limited response means Israel will once again dare to carry out similar operations inside Lebanon.”

Shoman believes that “Nasrallah may change the titles of his speech to announce a heated position, because the Al-Arouri assassination, in its form, content, and location, can only be dealt with as a dangerous and exceptional escalation,” Al-Jazeera reported.

According to Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian journalist and political analyst, “the challenge for the Resistance now is that they would have to respond, but it has to be a strategic response, meaning that they do not have to play into the hands of whatever political agenda Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in mind”.

“The assassination came at a time when it became clear that Israel was losing at the battlefront and losing badly in Gaza, in fact Israel was retreating from Gaza, according to Israeli media,” Baroud added. 

“So before it became a political crisis that is going to demolish Netanyahu’s government, he needed to buy time and create a distraction by killing al-Arouri”.

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu has asked his government ministers not to comment on the assassination of Al-Arouri, and his officials were quoted as saying that the operation targeted Al-Arouri and not Hezbollah or the Lebanese government.


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