The TV station of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says top Hamas official Saleh Arouri was killed Tuesday in an explosion in a southern Beirut suburb.
Arouri, one of the founders of Hamas’ military wing, had headed the group’s presence in the West Bank. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to kill him even before the Hamas-Israel war began on Oct. 7.
Israeli officials declined to comment.
Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said the blast killed four people and was carried out by an Israeli drone.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The following is AP’s earlier story.
An explosion shook the Lebanese capital’s southern suburbs Tuesday evening causing chaos in the militant Hezbollah group’s stronghold, but the nature of the blast was not immediately known.
It wasn’t clear if the explosion inflicted any casualties in the Beirut suburb but videos circulating on social media showed serious damage and fire.
The explosion came during more than two months of heavy exchanges of fire between Israeli troops and members of Hezbollah along Lebanon’s southern border.
Since the fighting began on Oct. 8, the fighting has been concentrated a few miles (kilometers) from the border but on several occasions Israel’s air force hit Hezbollah targets deeper in Lebanon.
Earlier in the day, Hezbollah said its fighters carried out several attacks along the Lebanon-Israel border targeting Israeli military posts.