What to Know:
The governments of Germany and Canada have urged their citizens to leave Lebanon immediately, which comes as Hezbollah vowed that the Israeli airstrike that killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri won’t go unpunished.
Yesterday, Hamas deputy leader and al-Qassam Brigades founder Saleh al-Arouri, along with al-Qassam commanders Samir Findi and Azzam al-Aqra, were killed during an Israeli drone strike targeting a Hamas office in Beirut, Lebanon.
Al-Arouri’s death will likely be a considerable blow to Hamas, as he was the leader of the group in the West Bank and the second in charge of the political bureau. Likewise, al-Arouri was a key figure in Hamas relations with Hezbollah and Iran.
??The explosion that occurred in the southern suburb of Beirut targeted a building housing an office for the #Hamas movement.
— Middle East Observer (@ME_Observer_) January 2, 2024
Following the strike, Hezbollah put out a statement calling the strike “a serious assault on Lebanon, its people, its security, sovereignty, and resistance,” adding that “this crime will never pass without response and punishment.”
Likewise, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah echoed warnings that the strike will not go unpunished during an address today. He also said that “If the enemy thinks about waging war against Lebanon, then our fighting will be with no ceiling, with no limits, with no rules.”
“We are not afraid of war. We don’t fear it. We are not hesitant. If we were, we would have stopped at the front,” Nasrallah added.
Calls for Citizens to Leave:
Both Germany and Canada have re-issued warnings calling for their citizens to leave Lebanon, citing the risk for the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel to escalate.
Eine Eskalation an der Grenze zwischen Israel und Libanon ist nicht auszuschließen – der Krisenstab der Bundesregierung hat darum heute getagt. Für Libanon gilt weiterhin eine Reisewarnung und Ausreiseaufforderung: https://t.co/3YzXlWylio. 1/2
— Auswärtiges Amt (@AuswaertigesAmt) January 3, 2024
The German Foreign Office posted to X that “An escalation at the border between Israel and Lebanon cannot be ruled out – the federal government’s crisis team met today. A travel warning and a request to leave the country continue to apply for Lebanon.”
The office also called for “All German citizens who are currently still in Lebanon are asked to register in the crisis preparedness…and to leave as quickly as possible.”
Canadians in #Lebanon: Explosions caused by suspected drone strikes occurred in the Dahiyeh district of #Beirut. If you are there, be extremely vigilant and aware of your surroundings. More info here: https://t.co/xrr0rkQYSj pic.twitter.com/ZDvHQhFvkh
— Travel.gc.ca (@TravelGoC) January 3, 2024
The Canadian Government also released an update to its Lebanon travel advisory stating “The situation in Lebanon remains volatile and unpredictable due to violent clashes along the border with Israel, including daily rocket and missile fire as well as air strikes. On January 2, 2024, explosions caused by suspected drone strikes occurred in the Dahiyeh district of Beirut, resulting in casualties. The attacks appear to be related to the ongoing conflict in the region and could lead to an escalation of hostilities in Lebanon.”
The advisory also stated that “If you are in Lebanon, including in Beirut: be extremely vigilant and aware of your surroundings and book a flight to leave the country.”