(New York, N.Y.) — On January 2nd, Hamas military leader and financier Saleh al-Arouri was killed in an alleged Israeli strike in the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, according to reports from the Hezbollah-linked al Mayadeen and confirmed by Hezbollah. Arouri had been elected deputy leader of Hamas’s political bureau in October 2017. He was a key Hamas financier, a founding member of the al-Qassam brigades, and head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank.
Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Chief Executive Officer Ambassador Mark D. Wallace stated:
“Saleh al-Arouri was a mass murderer and U.S.-designated terrorist who operated freely from the safe havens provided by Turkey and Qatar. Justice for the perpetrators of the October 7 atrocities should be the responsibility of all U.S. and Israeli allies. It cannot be confined by international borders.”
CEP Senior Director Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler added:
“Arouri is the first major Hamas leader killed since October 7th. Arouri has been responsible for planning attacks and financing Hamas’s activities from Syria, Turkey, Qatar, and Lebanon since he left Israel in 2010. He moved to Syria in 2012 and was expelled from Turkey in 2015 and Qatar in 2017. In Lebanon, Arouri operated as Hamas’s quasi-ambassador to Hezbollah. He was also a major link between Hamas and the Iranian regime, working closely with former IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani and attending meetings with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.”
Arouri has been facilitating money and weapons transfers to Hamas since the 1980s. In 2014, he claimed responsibility from Turkey for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, sparking that summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas. In 2015, he was expelled from Turkey and designated by the U.S. Treasury for his role as a “key financier and financial facilitator for Hamas military cells planning attacks and fomenting unrest.” In 2018, the U.S. Department of State offered a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to his arrest.
Despite being expelled from Turkey and Qatar in 2015 and 2017 respectively, Arouri enjoyed free movement between Turkey, Lebanon, and Qatar. In March of 2023, Israel’s Shin Bet reported that Arouri, along with other Hamas leaders in Istanbul, had recruited four young students from the West Bank for weapons and explosives training in order to carry out terror attacks in Israel.
To read CEP’s profile of Saleh al-Arouri, click here.
To read CEP’s resource on Hamas, click here.
To read CEP’s recent statement on Turkey’s support for Hamas, click here.
To read CEP’s HARBORS Campaign: Turkey, click here.
To view CEP’s HARBORS Campaign: Qatar, click here.