French President Emmanuel Macron called on the Israeli government to “avoid any radical behavior, especially in Lebanon,” after Israel allegedly provoked the Hamas leader in Beirut. The Elysee Palace in Paris made the announcement after Macron's phone call with Benny Gantz, minister in Israel's war cabinet, on Tuesday evening, according to media reports.
It said France would continue to communicate the restrictions to all actors directly or indirectly involved in the region. According to Islamist Hamas, the deputy head of its political bureau, Saleh al-Aruri, was killed in an explosion in the Lebanese capital. The terrorist organization blamed Israel.
Hezbollah fighters announced retaliation and launched their first attack on Israel that evening since al-Aruri's death. Regular shelling between Hezbollah and the Israeli army near the border has increased since the Gaza war began three months ago. Hezbollah is considered more powerful than Hamas.
The Israeli government's security adviser tried to defuse the situation after a Hamas leader died in an explosion in Beirut. The alleged attack was only aimed at Hamas, Mark Regev insisted to US broadcaster MSNBC. “Whoever did this, it must be clear that this was not an attack on the Lebanese government. It was not even an attack on Hezbollah.”
He continued: “The attacker was very surgical and targeted Hamas because Israel is at war,” he said without finishing the sentence. The Israeli military has been waging war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip since the October 7 assassination.
A senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that Israel did not accept any responsibility for the incident. At the same time, Regev said Israel's leadership has in the past identified leading terrorists involved in killing Israeli civilians as legitimate targets. However, this is a general principle and has nothing to do with the current situation.
Israeli media speculated that Regev was trying to use the interview to discourage Lebanese Hezbollah from reacting harshly. Iranian-backed Shiite militias announced retaliation after al-Aruri's death. He spoke of the “dangerous attack on Lebanon”, its people and security.