Hamas-affiliated broadcaster: Two Hamas commanders also killed in Beirut

BEIRUT/GAZA (dpa-AFX) – According to a Hamas-affiliated television station, the explosion in Beirut killed not only a leader but also two other high-ranking members of the Islamist organization. These are the commanders Samir Fandi Abu Amer and Assam al-Akra Abu Ammar of the group’s armed wing, as the TV station announced on Tuesday evening. Hamas itself said two leaders of its Qassam brigade were killed. It also confirmed the death of one of its leaders, Hamas politburo deputy head Saleh al-Aruri.

In total, six people were killed in Tuesday’s incident, according to Lebanon’s state news agency NNA. The exact reasons behind the explosion initially remained unclear. The suspicion quickly arose that it could be a targeted killing – possibly by Israel’s army or on Israel’s behalf. Israel’s military did not comment on the reports when asked.

The Israeli army has been carrying out massive air strikes and a ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the massacre on October 7th. Israel’s army is prepared for all scenarios following the incident in Beirut, according to its spokesman Daniel Hagari. According to Israeli media, the army is expecting retaliation – including firing from longer-range rockets. In recent months, confrontations between Israel’s army and the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah have been limited to the border region between the two countries. Since the beginning of the Gaza war there has been repeated shelling there. Hezbollah has connections to the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but is considered more influential and powerful./cir/DP/he