Thousands of people have attended the funeral of Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy leader of Hamas, who was killed in a drone strike in Beirut on Tuesday. The attack, which also killed six other Hamas members, has been widely blamed on Israel, although it has not officially claimed responsibility.
The funeral procession, which was held on Thursday, was joined by representatives of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and political ally of Hamas. The mourners carried coffins draped with Palestinian and Hamas flags, and chanted slogans against Israel and the United States.
Hamas has vowed to avenge the death of Arouri and continue its resistance against Israel.
Hezbollah, which has been engaged in sporadic clashes with Israel along the border since the start of the war, also condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Hamas. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, said in a speech that Israel had violated Lebanon’s sovereignty and security, and warned that it would face “punishment” for its actions.
The assassination of Arouri has raised fears of a wider regional conflict, as well as a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where millions of people are living under siege and facing shortages of food, water, medicine and electricity.
The UN, the US and other countries have urged all parties to exercise restraint and respect international law, and to resume dialogue to end the violence and address the underlying issues of the conflict.