‘No one knew there was a Hamas office here’: Beirut residents shocked by killing

AFP reports from the scene of yesterday’s presumed Israeli strike in Beirut that killed the deputy leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri.

The day after loud blasts ripped through the district from the drone attack that killed Arouri, armed men of Hezbollah stand guard in the mainly Shiite Muslim area that is their stronghold.

Local residents say they were surprised to learn that their busy street housed the secretive Hamas bureau in a nondescript three-story building nestled next to a pharmacy and a sweets shop.

“No one knew that there was a Hamas office here,” says Ahmed, 40, who works in the nearby sweets shop. “I heard three explosions. At first I thought it was thunder.”

“I was at the dentist’s, a few meters away,” says resident Mohammad Burji, 46, who lambasts Israel for striking “in the middle of a residential area.”

Local police captain Ali Farran says residents who lived through the 2006 war “are now expecting the worst.”

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