Hezbollah leader promises response to Hamas official's killing

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said the alleged Israeli assassination of a top Hamas official in a Beirut suburb Tuesday would not go unanswered. 

On Wednesday, Nasrallah addressed the killing of Saleh al-Arouri, the No. 3 member of Hamas’s political and military leadership, during a major speech marking the four-year anniversary of the death of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander who was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad in 2020. 

Nasrallah said Hezbollah “will not be quiet about [it] … without any response or paucity of action on the battlefield,” in remarks translated from Arabic by Sky News.

Israel has not taken responsibility for al-Arouri’s killing, but Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told NBC News the death of a top Hamas official in Beirut did not implicate Lebanon or Hezbollah in Israel’s larger war against Hamas. 

“Israel has not taken responsibility for this attack. But whoever did it, it must be clear that this was not an attack on the Lebanese state. It was not an attack even on Hezbollah, the terrorist organization,” Regev said. “Whoever did this did a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership.”

Israel and Hezbollah have traded strikes and counterstrikes nearly every day across the border between Israel and Lebanon since Oct. 7, following Hamas’s shocking terrorist attack on Israel that triggered a wider war by Israel against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Still, the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah is considered restrained in comparison with a larger war that could take place, between Israel’s large military and Hezbollah’s deep reserve of fighters and weaponry.

The U.S. has sought to keep a lid on fighting in the Middle East as Israel prosecutes its war against Hamas, even as tensions and attacks occur in multiple theaters throughout the region.

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