To: Interested Parties
From: The 10/7 Project
Re: Who Was Senior Hamas Leader Saleh al-Arouri?
Date: January 3, 2024
Contact: [email protected]
Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri was killed yesterday in an explosion in Beirut. These are the most important facts about how the terrorist became a top target:
Saleh al-Arouri was the founder of Hamas’s military wing and the deputy leader of the terrorist group’s political bureau. He was also considered to be one of the “masterminds” of the October 7th attack on Israel. First recruited by Hamas in the 1980s, al-Arouri has spent over five decades pushing for an increase in the use of violent tactics in the West Bank. After serving time in an Israeli prison for his crimes recruiting and arming Hamas cells, al-Arouri was released by Israel and deported to Syria in 2010. Since then, he was responsible for establishing Hamas’s West Bank headquarters from Turkey, where he played a key role in strengthening Hamas’s ties to known terrorist groups in the region, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Arouri as a global terrorist and placed a $5 million bounty for information due to his part in financing Hamas weapons transfers since the late 1980s. Al-Arouri’s connections in Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Qatar, and Lebanon allowed him to broker deals between regional extremist groups and funnel funding to Hamas terrorist cells – often providing the weapons and resources necessary to execute acts of terror.
Al-Arouri had a long track record of coordinating violence against Israeli civilians including attacks in recent months. Hamas said al-Arouri was an “architect” of the October 7th terrorist attacks that took the lives of 1,200 Israelis. He was also responsible for Hamas’s military activities in the West Bank. In that capacity, he is believed to have planned the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in 2014. In recent months, Hamas terrorists in the West Bank, under al-Arouri’s command, have carried out a series of attacks targeting Israeli civilians. These attacks have included striking tourist hubs, restaurants, and bus stops.
Al-Arouri was the linchpin of a regional terrorist network. Al-Arouri was the Hamas leader “closest to Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” two other terrorist organizations committed to Israel’s destruction. As Hamas’s deputy chief, he organized “war room” meetings between Hamas, Hezbollah, and the IRGC to coordinate joint attacks against Israel and destabilize the region. Following the October 7th attacks, al-Arouri met with leaders from Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to plot “an all-out victory” against Israel, according Hezbollah’s official broadcaster.
In 2014, al-Arouri was accused of planning to overthrow Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet alleged al-Arouri was planning a coup in the West Bank, which Abbas described as “a grave threat to the unity of the Palestinian people and its future.”