Middle East Escalation? Bombs Target Soleimani's Funeral In Iran As Hezbollah Vows Al-Arouri Retaliation

Iranian media said that the toll from the bombings has soared past 100 as Turkey publishes footage of arresting alleged Mossad agents who were targeting Palestinians

Middle East Escalation? Bombs Target Soleimani's Funeral In Iran As Hezbollah Vows Al-Arouri Retaliation

Fears of the conflict in the Middle East widened heightened on Wednesday after a drone strike struck the Hamas deputy chief deep in Beirut while Iran was rocked by twin explosions targeting an event to commemorate slain general Qasim Soleimani.

The incidents took place as Turkey released footage of apprehending alleged Mossad agents.

Early on Wednesday, Hamas deputy political chief Saleh al-Arouri was killed in a drone strike in downtown Beirut in Lebanon. Six others were also killed in the strike.

The 57-year-old Al-Arouri is believed to be the founder of Hamas' militant wing and a strong connection with Iran. 

Israel, however, did not claim responsibility for al-Arouri's assassination. 

Hamas, though, called off talks with Israel following the attack. Hamas had already said it would not negotiate with Israel until Israel halted its bombing campaign in Gaza.

On the other hand, Hezbollah, which allies with Hamas, vowed retaliation against Israel. Israel claims it has been trading fire with Hezbollah forces on the border with Lebanon since the current conflict began on October 7, 2023, after Hamas mounted a surprise attack.

Later on Wednesday, two bombs tore through a service on the death anniversary of Iranian general Qasim Soleimani. Soleimani had been killed in an American drone strike in Iraq four years ago.

Iranian media said that two bombs, placed in bags, were detonated by remote control 10 minutes apart in Soleimani's hometown of Kerman, where a crowd had gathered to participate in an event to observe his death anniversary.

The latest toll was 103 dead and over 140 injured.

Meanwhile, Israel continued to bomb the narrow Gaza Strip, targeting locations near the border with Egypt in Rafah. Thus far, the Israeli campaign against Palestine has left 22,313 dead, including 9,600 children. 

Separately, Turkey released footage showing security forces and law enforcement raiding locations across the country to detain 34 people who it claimed were 'Mossad' agents who were targetting Palestinians or Palestinian supporters living in Turkey.