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Explosion in Beirut: Hamas suspended peaceful negotiations with Israel

Explosion in Beirut: Hamas suspended peaceful negotiations with Israel Negotiations between Hamas and Israel regarding the Gaza Strip are frozen (photo: Getty Images)

The Palestinian radical movement Hamas has announced the suspension of ceasefire talks with Israel following the assassination in Lebanon of the deputy head of the movement, Saleh al-Arouri, according to Xinhua news agency.

"We have informed the brothers in Qatar and Egypt of the freezing of negotiations," said a spokesperson for the agency.

The reference is specifically to the negotiations regarding a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar and Egypt have been intermediaries in the dialogue between Israel and Hamas.

Elimination of the deputy head of Hamas

On the evening of January 2, in a suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut, deputy leader of Hamas Saleh al-Arouri was targeted in an explosion near the office of the Palestinian group.

Saleh al-Arouri is a senior leader recognized by several countries as a member of the terrorist organization Hamas and one of the founding commanders of its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

As of 2023, he also held the position of deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas and served as the military commander of the movement in the West Bank, although he resided in Lebanon. Al-Arouri worked as a recruiter and actively participated in the collection and transfer of funds on behalf of Hamas.

Al-Arouri had been imprisoned in Israel several times. In 2010, he was exchanged as part of the release of over a thousand Palestinians for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Elimination of Hamas militants

On January 1, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that during a nighttime airstrike in the central Gaza Strip, they had eliminated the commander of an elite unit of Hamas in the city of Deir el-Balah.

In December, the IDF had also successfully targeted two high-ranking officials of Hamas' intelligence unit. One of them was responsible for the attacks on Israeli territory on October 7.