Al-Arouri’s killing is a blow to Hamas, though likely not a debilitating one, analysts say.

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Video shows damaged buildings and cars following a strike that killed a senior Hamas official in Beirut.CreditCredit…Abbas Salman/EPA, via Shutterstock

Ben Hubbard

The killing of Saleh al-Arouri deprives Hamas of one of its most skilled tacticians, who helped route money and weapons to its operatives in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East and integrated the group more tightly into Iran’s network of forces committed to fighting Israel, according to analysts.

But it was far from clear that his death would be a debilitating blow to the organization, which has rebuilt again and again after assassinations of its leaders, and remained agile enough to plot the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks despite years of Israeli military and intelligence efforts to weaken it.

Still, Mr. al-Arouri’s killing — in a strike in a Beirut suburb on Tuesday that senior officials from Hamas, Lebanon and the United States ascribed to Israel — sets Hamas back at the most vulnerable time in its history, analysts said.

Israel’s overwhelming offensive in Gaza has significantly weakened the group’s military strength there, including its ability to manufacture rockets and other weapons. Mr. al-Arouri’s position, as Hamas’s de facto ambassador to Iran and Hezbollah, meant that he would have had an important role in the group’s efforts to rebuild militarily with help from foreign backers. Israel has not taken responsibility for his killing.


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