Hamas announced on Tuesday that Saleh al-Arouri, its deputy chief, was killed in an Israeli attack in Beirut, Lebanon. Born in Arura near Ramallah in 1966, Arouri graduated from Hebron University in 1992 with a degree in Islamic Sharia. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood and became involved with Hamas when it was established in 1987. Arouri faced periods of administrative detention by the Israeli army for his Hamas activities.
Considered a founder of Hamas’s armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, he established its cells in the West Bank between 1991 and 1992. Arouri was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1992 but was released in 2007, only to be re-arrested in 2010 and subsequently deported. After his release, he became a member of Hamas’s political bureau and played a key role in the 2011 prisoner exchange with Israel.
In 2018, the US Department of State offered a $5 million reward for information leading to him. Arouri was re-elected as Hamas’s deputy chief in 2021, also assuming leadership in the West Bank. Arouri remained a target for Israeli forces until his assassination occurred on January 2 in Lebanon.