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Lebanon&nbsp ;: funeral of Hamas number two | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Mourners carry the coffins of Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas commander, and two other Hamas members, who were killed in an apparent Israeli strike on Tuesday, during their funeral in Beirut, Lebanon , Thursday January 4, 2024.

Agence France-Presse

More than a thousand people participated Thursday in Beirut in the funeral of the number two of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and two of its companions, killed in a strike attributed to Israel, calling for a response, noted an AFP journalist.

Saleh al-Arouri and six other leaders and executives of this movement were killed Tuesday evening in this strike against a Hamas office in the southern suburbs of Beirut, stronghold of the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah.

The coffins of Saleh al-Arouri, Azzam al-Aqraa, a leader of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and Mohammad al-Raïs, a cadre of the movement, were wrapped in Palestinian and Hamas flags.

A machine gun was placed on each of them during prayer, in a mosque in a popular neighborhood of Beirut, according to a AFP journalist.

Amid heavy gunfire, the funeral procession then headed towards the Palestinian refugee camp in Shatila, where the three men were buried.

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Chanting Allah Akbar (God is the greatest), the participants waved the green flag of Hamas, and Palestinian and Palestinian Islamic Jihad flags.

Abu Obeida, bomb Tel Aviv, they repeated to the spokesperson for the military branch of Hamas in Gaza, who has become famous for the emblematic keffiyeh which hides his face at each public appearance.

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Mourners attend the funeral of Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas commander, who was killed Tuesday in a Apparent Israeli strike, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, January 4, 2024.

The assassination of Saleh al-Arouri or any other Palestinian is a failed move, because the resistance will give rise to new leaders, Omar Ghannoum, a 35-year-old Palestinian, told AFP.

He came to the funeral to denounce the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the violation of Lebanese sovereignty by the Israeli army.

The enemy thinks that with the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, it can overcome the resistance and impose its conditions, but it has failed, and it will never be able to push Hamas to abandon its demands, its vision and strategy, assured, in a recorded speech broadcast to the crowd, the political leader of Hamas, Ismaïl Haniyeh, based in Qatar.

Several Hamas figures in exile are established in Lebanon, under the protection of Hezbollah, its ally.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after the Palestinian Islamist movement's unprecedented attack on its soil on October 7, which left around 1,140 people dead in Israel.

Israeli retaliatory operations in Gaza since have cost more than 22,000 lives, according to Hamas.

Since the beginning of the war, almost daily clashes also pit Hezbollah and its allies against Israel, but until then they were limited to southern Lebanon.

The Tuesday's strike is the first since October 7 on the outskirts of the Lebanese capital.

Israel, which did not claim it, was immediately singled out by Hamas, Hezbollah and the Lebanese government. A US defense official also indicated on Wednesday that it was indeed an Israeli strike.

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