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Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri killed in Beirut blast



A drone strike in Beirut’s southern suburbs of Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold, killed senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri on Tuesday.

The drone hit a Hamas office, leaving six people dead, Lebanon’s state news agency reported.

Hamas confirmed the death of al-Arouri and called it a “cowardly assassination” by Israel, adding that attacks on Palestinians “inside and outside Palestine will not succeed in breaking the will and steadfastness of our people, or undermining the continuation of their valiant resistance”.

“It proves once again the abject failure of this enemy to achieve any of its aggressive goals in the Gaza Strip,” the group said.

Following the news of the death of al-Arouri, mosques in Arura, the occupied West Bank town of north Ramallah, are mourning his death and a general strike has been called in Ramallah for Wednesday.

Here is what to know about the Hamas official killed in Lebanon.

Who was Saleh al-Arouri?

Al-Arouri, 57, was the deputy chief of Hamas’s political bureau and one of the founders of the group’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades.

He had been living in exile in Lebanon after spending 15 years in an Israeli jail. Before the war began on October 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened to kill him.

In recent weeks, al-Arouri took on the role of spokesperson for the group and told Al Jazeera last month that Hamas would not discuss an exchange deal for the captives the group is holding before the war ends in Gaza.

The United States labelled al-Arouri as a “global terrorist” in 2015 and issued a $5m reward for any information on him.

What has Israel said about al-Arouri’s death?

While there has been no official response from Israel about the death of the Hamas official, Mark Regev, an adviser to Netanyahu, told the US outlet MSNBC that Israel does not take responsibility for this attack. But, added, “Whoever did it, it must be clear: this was not an attack on the Lebanese state.”

“Whoever did this did a surgical strike against the Hamas leadership,” he said.

However, Danny Danon, a former Israeli envoy to the United Nations, hailed the attack and congratulated the Israeli army, Shin Bet, the security service and Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, for killing al-Arouri.

“Anyone who was involved in the 7/10 massacre should know that we will reach out to them and close an account with them,” he said on X in Hebrew, referring to the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed nearly 1,200 people.

Israel’s relentless bombing and artillery shelling of Gaza since then has killed more than 22,000 Palestinians, including more than 8,000 children.

According to Israeli media, the government has ordered cabinet ministers not to give any interviews about al-Arouri’s death after Danon’s tweet.

What has been the response from Lebanon?

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the attack on the Beruit suburb and said it was a “new Israeli crime” as well as an attempt to pull Lebanon into the war.

Mikati also warned against the “Israeli political upper echelon resorting to exporting its failures in Gaza to the southern border to impose new facts on the ground and change the rules of engagement”.

Hezbollah said that the attack on Lebanon’s capital “will not pass without punishment”.

(Al Jazeera)


Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief




Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.


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Japan officially notifies SL to resume disbursement to Yen loan projects




Following the completion of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on 23 July and the expression of the willingness by the Government of Sri Lanka to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement on debt restructuring, the Government of Japan has officially decided to resume disbursement to Yen Loan Projects, which had been suspended since the default of Sri Lanka in 2022.

On 24 July, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office held a joint press conference to inaugurate this milestone decision at Ministry of Finance.

While congratulating the completion of the MOU on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and the OCC, Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki highlighted the unprecedented initiative and outstanding contribution by the Government of Japan, as a co-chair of the OCC, in leading and concluding the public debt restructuring.

Ambassador Mizukoshi also commended Sri Lankan authorities for their ongoing efforts in implementing the comprehensive economic and social reforms essential to guide the country back to a sustainable path. He stated that all the suspended yen loan projects are crucial infrastructures that promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth and further reaffirmed Japan’s continuous and unwavering commitment to supporting Sri Lanka.

On behalf of Mr. Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office, Ms. Ide Yuri, Senior Representative, handed over the official letter on this decision to Mr. Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury, which is addressed to President Wickremesinghe from Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, President of JICA.

Ms. Ide Yuri expressed her hope that the resumption of Yen loan projects will contribute to stabilizing the economy and society of Sri Lanka and help gain momentum toward long-term sustainable growth, thus paving the way for Sri Lanka to recover trust and confidence from the people and private businesses of both Sri Lanka and the world.

Secretary Siriwardana expressed his profound gratitude for this decision and sincere appreciation for Japan’s excellent initiative and long-term dedication in the debt restructuring.

It is hoped that the resumption of disbursement to Yen loan projects would further strengthen the bond between Japan and Sri Lanka, as well as help this island nation bring itself back on track for further economic development, serving as a hub in the Indian Ocean.

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Cabinet takes decision following SC order on IGP




During a special Cabinet briefing today (July 24), it has been decided to announce its response to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the next two days after studying in depth the legal aspects of the matter.

The special cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers had been of the opinion that since the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the IGP was received only this afternoon, adequate time is needed to conduct an in-depth study of the related legal issues.

Accordingly, it was unanimously decided that it would be most suitable to announce the response of the Cabinet in the next two days.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing Deshabandu Tennakoon from performing duties and functioning in the position of the IGP.

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