In a move widely considered as a reconciliation attempt, deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri met with Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday in Beirut, according to Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV and reported by Ynet. The two sides met shortly after Israel destroyed an offensive tunnel originating in Gaza and stretching into Israeli territory, killing several senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members, The Algemeiner writes.
Al-Arouri and Nasrallah discussed “the Zionist aggression against Gaza and its ramifications,” even though the tunnel was constructed to attack and abduct Israelis in a future confrontation. The tunnel’s construction started after the 2014 war with Hamas ended, according to Israeli military officials speaking to The Jerusalem Post.
This is a first high-profile meeting between the two organizations in more than six years, after ties were formally severed in 2011 when the groups took opposite positions in Syria’s civil war, The Algemeiner notes.
Arouri has led two Hamas delegations to Iran during the past three months to strengthen ties with the group’s traditional state sponsor, and he also helped facilitate the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, while remaining in charge of coordinating Hamas’ terrorist activities in the West Bank, The Algemeiner writes.
Hamas’ latest reconciliation efforts with Iran and Hezbollah only reinforces the view that its primary objective is to militarily confront Israel, whether or not a Palestinian unity deal is struck, the news outlet underscores.