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Israel foreshadows major confrontation with Saleh al-Arouri’s assassination: Analysts

Anticipation is prevailing in Lebanon and the entire region is following the Israeli assassination of Hamas’ deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri in a strike on the group’s office building in southern Beirut. 

Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV published video of leader Ismail Haniyeh mourning Arouri's assassination along with two senior commanders of its military wing in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported earlier that Arouri was killed in an Israeli drone strike on a Hamas office building in Mecherfeh. At least seven people were killed in the attack.

The assassination is the first to take place in the Hezbollah stronghold in the Dahiyeh neighborhood since 2006 when a war broke out between Hezbollah and Israel. 

Arouri's assassination takes the region into major confrontation

According to two political analysts who spoke to Anadolu, the assassination constituted an unprecedented escalation and foreshadows a major confrontation that may extend over the entire region.

"The assassination of al-Arouri is a big and dangerous operation that aims to take the region into a major confrontation," said Lebanese political analyst Qassem Qassir.

He said at the current moment "there is no information on the nature of the response to the assassination operation," but thinks there will be an escalation in the confrontation on all fronts.

Hezbollah considered it "a serious attack on Lebanon, its people, security, sovereignty and resistance,'' and vowed that Arouri's assassination would "never go unpunished."

"It is clear that Israel took a decision to escalate the level of its attacks against the resistance axis groups," political analyst Tony Bouloss told Anadolu.

He said Arouri's assassination was the second person Israeli targeted after killing a senior official of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) in Damascus last week.

On Dec. 25, Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency said Sayyed Razi, a senior IRGC official, was killed in an Israeli attack in a suburb of the Syrian capital. 

No red lines in front of Israel

Bouloss considered Arouri's assassination the most violent attack in Lebanon since 2006, meaning that "Israel has broken all rules of engagement and it no longer has red lines in confronting Iran in the region."

He also said the assassination puts Hezbollah at "a grave crossroads" as it is forced to respond to preserve its reputation, while at the same time, the group does not have a green light from Iran, since Iran did not respond to the killing of its senior official in Syria.

"Today, Hezbollah is confused, and looks for a response that equals the level of the assassination, but at the same time not to drag Lebanon and the region into a major military confrontation," added Bouloss.

On Aug. 28, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel that any assassination on Lebanese territory against a Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Iranian or any person would prompt a strong response from the resistance group.

Arouri was the most senior Hamas leader to have been killed by Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict on Oct. 7.

Israel launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 22,185 Palestinians have since been killed and 57,035 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.  

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