US: Arouri was ‘brutal terrorist,’ conflict no less stable now after assassination

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US State Department spokesman Matt Miller says the Hamas deputy leader allegedly assassinated by Israel yesterday in Beirut was a “brutal terrorist centrally responsible for the attacks on October 7 and other attacks against innocent civilians going back well beforehand.”

Pressed whether the US feels the alleged Israeli decision to kill Saleh al-Arouri harms Washington’s desire to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spreading, Miller says the concern for escalation between Israel and Lebanon is not any higher today than it was at the beginning of the conflict.

While he appears to all but nod in approval of the assassination, Miller does say during the press briefing that the US was not informed in advance of Arouri’s assassination.

Miller doesn’t go as far as to confirm that Israel was behind the attack but says, “I’ll leave it to the government of Israel to speak to their actions.”

He also says Washington has no reason to believe that Israel was responsible for the deadly blasts earlier today near the grave of slain Iranian Guards general Qassem Soleimani.

“The United States was not involved in any way, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous,” he adds while expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

While some have pointed a finger at Israel over the bombings, which reportedly killed 103 people, threats of harsh responses from Iranian leaders pointedly do not accuse Jerusalem of involvement.

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