Israel's Defense Minister: Hamas Commander Planning Attacks Against Israel From Lebanon

Avigdor Lieberman met with U.S. Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley, says Americans should work with Lebanese government to expel Hamas leaders from country

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Dana Shraga/Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that Salah al-Arouri, a Hamas military commander overseeing West Bank terror cells, has arrived in Lebanon in recent days and was planning to continue trying to carry out terror attacks against Israel.

In their Friday morning meeting, Lieberman said that Arouri, who acted against Israel from Turkey and until recently resided in Qatar, was acting together with two other Hamas operatives. 

"The three, headed by Saleh al-Arouri, will continue trying to activate terror against Israel from Lebanon, and at the same time strengthen ties between Hamas and Hezbollah. All this, under an Iranian umbrella and the help of the Revolutionary Guards and Qasem Soleimani," Lieberman told Haley, referring to the commander of the Guards' Quds Force.

"Arouri is a dangerous terrorist who's responsible for deadly terror attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, and he mustn't be allowed to carry on with his actions.

"Lebanon is a sovereign state that maintains ties with the U.S. – ties that include bilateral meetings at the highest levels both in Beirut and in Washington. As far as we're concerned, Lebanon is responsible for what happens inside it and for terror activity that will emerge from it. That why it's important that the U.S. work with the Lebanese government with the aim of expelling the three senior Hamas figures and preventing the establishment of another terrorist headquarters in its territory," Lieberman told Haley.

On Monday, Palestinian sources confirmed that a number of top Hamas officials have left Qatar at the country's request, splitting up and moving to a number of countries, including Lebanon, Malaysia and Turkey. Arouri left Qatar together with Musa Dudin, who was released as part of the a prisoner exchange deal and established in Gaza a cell in charge of planning terror attacks in the West Bank.

The expulsion came as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.