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Fearing targeted assassinations: One by one, senior Hamas officials are leaving Lebanon

The operatives who left Lebanon went to Syria and Turkey • A source in Hamas told KAN news that Hamas leaders have taken significant operational measures following Saleh al-Arouri's assassination in Beirut

Men stand on a damaged building in the aftermath of what security sources said was an Israeli drone strike in Beirut's southern suburbs of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, January 3, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)

Some senior members of Hamas' military wing who were permanently based in Beirut have left Lebanon for fear of being assassinated, according to the Evening News program on KAN public broadcaster on Sunday.

A source with Hamas told KAN that Hamas leadership has taken significant operational measures following the assassination of the organization's deputy leader, Saleh Al-Arouri, in Beirut.

The operatives who left Lebanon went to Syria and Turkey. Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Razi Hamad, based in Beirut – who became one of the main Hamas spokesmen since the war broke out – has been staying in Cairo since Saleh al-Arouri's assassination, and has not yet returned to Lebanon.

About two weeks ago, the No. 2 in the Hamas terrorist organization, Saleh al-Arouri, was killed in the Dahiyeh neighborhood, a Hezbollah stronghold in the heart of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The Lebanese news agency reported that an Israeli UAV attacked the Hamas office and three more terrorists were killed in the attack besides al-Arouri.

After the assassination, two Syrian citizens living in Lebanon told KAN about their difficulties living in the nation. "People are very stressed and worried because they don't want war," one said. "We want Hamas members to go away, we have enough problems."

Another Syrian citizen said that "al-Arouri's assassination in central Beirut was a warning to the Lebanese government because we could have expected this to happen in the south since they are on the border with Israel. But it is surprising from the Lebanese perspective that it happened in central Beirut, and indicates danger."

Elior Levy is a Palestinian and Arab affairs correspondent for KAN 11 News.

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