Monday, March 4, 2024

General strike held across West Bank over Israel’s assassination of senior Hamas leader

A general strike was observed across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday to mark the assassination of the senior Hamas official, Saleh al-Arouri, who was killed in a targeted Israeli drone attack in Lebanon on Tuesday.

The general strike in the West Bank involves the shuttering of all businesses and services, including shops, banks, commercial facilities and public institutions. Transport has also been disrupted with partial cancellations.

Arouri, the deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau and the chief of the group’s operations in the West Bank, was killed in the Lebanese capital Beirut along with at least six others.

Footage shared on local media showed the burnt-out wreckage of several vehicles in southern Beirut, as crowds gathered nearby after the attack.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the explosion, calling it a “new Israeli crime”.

Following the killing of Arouri, there have also been widespread calls for a demonstration in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian parties and factions had called for joint action as well as protest rallies against Israel.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people came out in the streets of Ramallah, Arouri’s birthplace, to demonstrate and denounce Israel. Many also praised Arouri’s role in resistance against Israel during the protest.

Arouri spent 18 years in Israeli prison before being released in 2010 and deported to Syria.

He then lived relatively freely within Beirut, but he was placed on a US terrorist list in 2015 and had a $5m bounty on his head by Washington.

His assassination on Tuesday is a serious escalation by Israel, both against Hamas’s leadership abroad and Hezbollah.

The Lebanese group has been involved in low-level skirmishes on Lebanon’s southern border, launching periodic strikes against Israeli forces.

Israeli air strikes and shelling have killed more than 100 Hezbollah fighters and nearly two dozen civilians, including children, elderly and several journalists, according to Hezbollah and security sources.

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