Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group warned that Israel’s killing Tuesday of the deputy Hamas leader in a Beirut suburb they control “will not go unanswered or unpunished”.
Hezbollah called it “a serious assault on Lebanon”.
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“We, Hezbollah, affirm that this crime will not go unanswered or unpunished,” the movement said in a statement that called it “a serious assault on Lebanon… and a dangerous development in the course of the war,” the statement added.
An Israeli strike killed Saleh al-Aruri, deputy head of the Hamas movement, in a southern Beirut stronghold of Hamas ally Hezbollah, two security officials told AFP.
Hamas, at war with Israel in the Gaza Strip for almost three months, later confirmed Aruri’s death which Lebanese state media said came in an Israeli drone strike that killed a total of six people.
Hezbollah has engaged in near-daily cross-border clashes with Israel since Israel’s war with Hamas began in October.
Last month, Iranian state media said an Israeli missile strike killed Razi Moussavi, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, near the Syrian capital Damascus.
Moussavi was the most senior Quds Force commander to be killed outside Iran in four years.
Hezbollah said the strike that killed Aruri was “in continuation with… the assassination of commander Razi Moussavi.”
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to give a televised speech on Wednesday.