Saleh al-Arouri, who was Hamas’s number two: a 10 million bounty on him

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Mind and strategist of the armed struggle of Hamas, link with Hezbollah and Iran, considered even more dangerous than the leader Yahya Sinwar, of whom he was deputy. This is the profile of Saleh al-Arouri, the number two of the Palestinian terrorist organization killed in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, in the drone raid attributed to Israel (THE LATEST NEWS FROM GAZA).

The last hours before death

Since the October 7 attack, the Jewish state had assured that it would hunt down Hamas leaders wherever they were. And so it was done with Arouri, who used to change his hiding place several times in the southern outskirts of the Lebanese capital, his base of operations. According to Lebanese intelligence sources, the man had gone to the building in Musharrafiye, the neighborhood where the raid took place, for a secret meeting with the other Hamas leaders in Lebanon. And there are those who claim that some spy, infiltrated into Hezbollah, managed to inform the Israeli Mossad about Arouri’s position before the raid.

The role of Arouri

In 2015, the United States placed a five million dollar bounty on his head, placing him on the list of “global terrorists”, which was later raised to ten million after the events in Gaza. Since October 7, he has also been coordinating Hamas’ military activities from the southern Lebanese front against the Israeli army in the Upper Galilee. But for years his main role was that of a link between his organization and its regional allies, namely Hezbollah and Iran. In Beirut he was the point man for Hasan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese Shiite organization. The two met very frequently, especially since the outbreak of war in early October.

His story between prison and militancy

Born in 1966 in the West Bank, the 58-year-old Arouri had spent 22 years in Israeli prisons, from the late 1980s to 2007, with a brief interruption in the late 1990s. Released, the Israelis expelled him and deported him to Syria by Bashar al Assad, an ally of Iran and Hezbollah. In 2011 he participated in negotiations with Israel for the exchange of prisoners in which he, among others, the leader Sinwar, was released. The Syrian civil war in 2012 had forced the entire Hamas leadership to leave Damascus: Arouri therefore ended up in Turkey, where he distinguished himself as a mediator between Hamas and Fatah, the party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and between Hamas and Egypt. In 2018, after the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, Arouri moved permanently to Beirut. Until his death.