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Hamas Military Chief Ahmed Jabari Killed by Israeli StrikeSpecial to Salem-News.com
Hamas says the act of assassinating Ahmed Jabari is a call to war
(GAZA, Palestine) - Here ends not only the supposed quiet for Gazans but also for Israelis living in the south.
Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas' military wing, was killed Wednesday in a targeted strike by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Islamist group said an Israeli airstrike hit a car in the Gaza Strip, killing both Jabari, who ran the organization's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, and a passenger.
"The martyr is Ahmed al-Jabari and his bodyguard was injured," Ayman Sahabani, a doctor at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said. Israeli news now announced that Jabari’s son was killed with him.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jabari because of his "decade-long terrorist activity."
IDF Spokesperson said the purpose of the strikes was to deal a heavy blow to the Hamas command and control apparatus and to the organization's terrorist infrastructure.
Jabari is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza four years ago. He has long topped Israel's most-wanted list.
Jabari is a relative of one of the founders of Hamas. He was responsible for the attack on Kerem Shalom, when IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and two other soldiers killed. Jabari was in charge of negotiations during Shalit's five years in captivity.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told mayors of southern Israeli cities under rocket attack that it was his responsibility to choose the right time to "exact the heaviest price" for the continual rocket fire from Gaza.
Since the flare-up with Gaza began, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have promised a sharp Israeli response to the rocket fire.
During the Be'er Sheva meeting with the southern Israeli mayors, Netanyahu said that Israel is not expected to undertake significant military action in Gaza at this stage, or to renew assassinations of Gaza militants.
"I am responsible for us choosing the right time to exact the heaviest price, and so be it," Netanyahu said. "Whoever thinks that they can damage the daily lives of residents of the south, and that they won't pay a heavy price for this – they are mistaken."
A Hamas security source also confirmed Jabari's death, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency and the military also confirmed the operation.
"During a joint operation of the General Security Service (Shin Bet) and the IDF (army) today, Ahmed Jabari, the senior commander of the military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was targeted," a statement from the Shin Bet said.
Palestinian security sources and medics confirmed a total of four air strikes across Gaza during the late afternoon, two in Gaza City, one of which killed Jabari, one in northern Gaza, and a fourth in the southern city of Khan Yunis.
Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba, was on location and said, “This is a residential area, and people have rushed to the site as soon as they heard the news.”
Israel Explains Itself. No Apologies.
"The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure."
In so doing, they have succeeded in causing panic, and provoking freedom fighters into acting hastily, both benefits to Israel.
Their military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said the strike was "the start of an operation targeting armed groups in Gaza following multiple rocket attacks on southern Israel".
"The IDF started an operation against terror organisations in Gaza due to the ongoing attacks against Israeli civilians," she said on her Twitter account.
20-year-old Mohammed Ziad died Tuesday from wounds he received Saturday, allegedly after Hamas fighters fired at an Israeli army jeep. Ziad is a supposed member of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
Four Israeli soldiers were injured in that attack, and it was blamed as the reason for the escalation in violence. Next, Israel unleashed air strikes and shelling that killed 7 other Palestinians and injured more than 30.
Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, said "This is a big loss for Hamas, and a success for Israel, who have been after him for a while." She said Jabari had been a target for Israel for a long time.
Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak promised that the hell being betowed upon Gaza is "not over".
Barak defiantly said that Israel would decide how and when to respond to Gaza's defensive rocket fire.
"At this time... it is preferable to act [in a timely fashion] rather than just talk," he said in remarks communicated by his office.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would decide when to retaliate.
"Anyone who thinks that he can harm the daily lives of southern residents and not pay a heavy price for it is mistaken," said Netanyahu.
"I am responsible for choosing the right time for exacting the most heavy price and that's how it will be."
Israeli planes struck three sites in Gaza Monday. Israel claims the targets were identified as a weapons facility and two "rocket launch sites".
The following morning, the Israeli army said two rockets had been fired into Israel, causing no injuries. Media reports in Gaza said one of the rockets was a longer-range Grad rocket, which may have landed near the coastal town of Ashdod.
Gaza fighters have reportedly fired 123 rockets into southern Israel, injuring four people.
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