How Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader could spark war across Middle East as Lebanon’s Hezbollah vow ‘punishment’

How Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader could spark war across Middle East as Lebanon’s Hezbollah vow ‘punishment’

A TERRIFYING war across the Middle East could break out in days after Lebanon’s Hezbollah promised to retaliate after Israel assassinated a top Hamas official.

The killing has sparked fury across the Israeli border and provoked warnings from the United Nations, Lebanon government and France over the potential escalation of an all out war.

APLebanon’s Hezbollah has promised to retaliate after Israel were blamed for assassinating a top Hamas official in Beirut[/caption]

GettyWorld leaders including French president Macron have voiced concerns over a potential escalation of the war spilling over into the Middle East after the airstrike[/caption]

The assassination of Saleh al-Arouri has sparked new fears over a war in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon’s HezbollahReuters

APPeople gathered outside the apartment where Arouri was killed as Lebanese and Israelis people have been warned escalation could put them in serious danger[/caption]

Saleh al-Arouri was seen as one of the most powerful members of the terrorist group for his close relationships with Iran and Lebanon – both of which are helping Hamas in their fighting against Israel.

Iran have long been at the forefront of Hamas workings after funding their operations and providing intelligence to the group for decades, according to reports.

Arouri also has close links with Hezbollah – a Lebanese terrorist group seen as one of the most deadly and formidable in the world who also support and back Hamas in their horror attacks on Israel.

The killing of Arouri in Hezbollah’s stronghold could escalate the the war well beyond the Gaza strip because of these strong ties.

In a televised speech in August, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had warned Israel against carrying out any assassinations on Lebanese soil, vowing a “severe reaction”.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati described the killing as a war crime aimed at Lebanon to drag them deeper into the conflict.

As Izzat Al-Rishq – a member of the Hamas Political bureau – called it a “cowardly assassination by the Zionist occupation”.

Despite Hezbollah threatening to retaliate, they haven’t started to make any moves yet, according to the countries government official Abdallah Bou Habib.

Mr Habib said it would become clear in the next 24 hours if Hezbollah are planning to respond as he voiced his concerns over a potential deadlier war breaking out as Lebanon try to calm down the groups irate leaders.

“We are very concerned. (The) Lebanese don’t want to be dragged, even Hezbollah does not want to be dragged into a regional war,” he said. 

A spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has also voiced deep concerns over a possible escalation of violence after the killing of Arouri.

Kandice Ardiel said her organisation worried about the “devastating consequences” a response from Hezbollah could have for the people of Israel and Lebanon. 

She added: “We continue to implore all parties to cease their fire, and any interlocutors with influence to urge restraint.”

Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack but it did insist the assassination shouldn’t be seen as an attack on Lebanon.

Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev told MSNBC: “Whoever did it, it must be clear that this was not an attack on the Lebanese state.

“Whoever did this did a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership. Whoever did this has a gripe with Hamas. That is very clear.”

The explosion – caused by drone strikes – shook the Lebanese capital’s southern suburbs, which are strongholds of Hezbollah – an ally of Hamas.

Hezbollah has been exchanging near-daily fire with Israel across Lebanon’s southern border since the war began in Gaza.

French president Emmanuel Macron told Israel to try all they can to avoid the war escalating outside of Gaza and spilling across the Middle East. 

Macron told Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz that Israel should stop any escalation “particularly in Lebanon”, in a statement, according to reports.

Fears over what the death of a top official would do to other Hamas members have also been ramped up in recent hours as Hamas’ leader, Haniyeh Ismail, said the movement was “more powerful and determined” following the attack.

He continued: “They left behind them strong men who will carry the banner after them.”

Months before Arouri’s death the evil Hamas chief gave a chilling prediction of his own death.

He told Palestinians that he was waiting to be killed and had already “lived too long”, in a passionate speech urging people to take part in the war he helped to create.

Back in August, Arouri admitted to Palestinians in the West Bank: “I am waiting for martyrdom and think that I lived too long.”

Before two months later all out war broke out as more than 1,400 men, women, and children were killed – and 242 kidnapped – the day Hamas launched its savage attack on Israel.

Following the harrowing October 7, massacre Israel responded and fighting has continued for months as thousands more have died.

Israel have been searching for top Hamas chiefs since the attacks with last nights supposed hit on Arouri being the first time Hamas have said one of their leaders has been eliminated.

Lebanon‘s state-run National News Agency said the senior official died in an explosion caused by an attack on an apartment used as Hamas’ office.

Two other Hamas commanders in Lebanon – Samir Findi Abu Amer and Azzam Al-Aqraa Abu Ammar – were also killed in the precision strike, Al Aqsa TV reports.

Arouri was a senior official in Hamas’s politburo but was known to be deeply involved in its military affairs.

He was one of the founders of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – Hamas’ military wing – and headed the terrorist group’s presence in the West Bank.

The deputy leader was seen as Hamas’ prime orchestrator of terrorism in the West Bank – and was wanted by Israel for many years.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to kill him even before the Hamas bloodbath on October 7, which sparked the ongoing war.

The 57-year-old was also seen as a “global terrorist” in the US for his role as a senior Hamas member and mastermind of the ongoing war.

Israel are still on the hunt for other Hamas leaders including the man dubbed “Gaza’s Bin Laden” Yayha Sinwar after they labelled the disgraced leader “a dead man walking”.

Sinwar has evaded Israeli capture twice in days after escaping through the terror network’s tunnels, according to claims.

Previously, the IDF killed Ahmed Al Ghandour, a senior member of Hamas’ military council who had been in charge for 18 year.

Alongside Ghandour, three other senior officials were also killed, including Wael Rajab, Raf’at Salman and Ayman Siyam.

The IDF also eliminated Wissam Farhat from the Shuja’iya Brigade of the terrorist organisation in a deadly airstrike.

He was among the masterminds of the horror attack on October 7 – and had directed the terrorists to kill and kidnap Israeli civilians from the Nahal Oz Kibbutz.

At least 12 civilians were killed and more than 20 went missing in the horror attack after Farhat ordered for mass shooting in the kibbutz.

APMultiple other Hamas members were also taken out in the devastating strike that has angered Lebanon and Hezbollah members in the country[/caption]

Arouri was one of the top Hamas chiefs and masterminds behind the attacks in the West BankEPA

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