Israeli forces launch fresh airstrikes on Gaza
The air raids came hours after Gaza fighters on Monday fired six
rockets at southern Israel. Monday's rocket fire was claimed by
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Hamas has vowed to retaliate after its military chief Ahmed
al-Jabari is killed in the Israeli airstrike Wednesday which the
Jewish state has termed as "the beginning of an operation to
target militant groups".
"The assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari has opened on Israel
'gates of hell'", the Hamas military wing vowed on Wednesday in response
to the murder of its commander in an air raid in the Gaza Strip.
Israel said the killing of Jaabari was the beginning of an
operation to target militant groups across the Hamas-controlled
There were six Gazans killed in more than 20 Israeli air strikes,
“The days we face in the south will, in my estimation, prove
protracted,” Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai told Channel 2 TV
after Israeli air strikes killed the military chief of Gaza’s
Hamas government. “The homefront must brace itself resiliently.”
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency confirmed it
targeted Jaabari in a joint strike with the army, charging he had
been “directly responsible for executing terror attacks”.
The assassination follows a flareup in and around the Gaza border,
which saw militants fire more than 120 rockets over the border,
and Israel killing seven Palestinians.
The killing sparked furious protests in Gaza City, with hundreds
of members of Hamas and the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades chanting
for revenge inside Shifa hospital.
Witnesses reported at least six air strikes across the territory
and said dozens of Israeli tanks were massed along the border east
of Gaza City.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned that
“the occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself.”
Jaabari deliberately kept a low profile, was rarely photographed
and avoided being interviewed.
But a deal to secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
brought him out of the shadows last year.
He allowed himself to be caught on camera on October 18, 2011 as
he delivered Shalit to Egypt as part of a key prisoner exchange
deal with the Jewish state.
The footage was broadcast instantly around the world, and showed
Jaabari in civilian clothing, glasses in his shirt pocket, as he
walked his Israeli charge to a car.
Jaabari hailed from a respected activist family in the Shejaiya
neighborhood of Gaza City, with close ally Abu Hudaifa describing
him as confident in his own decisions and committed to following
up personally on issues.
A history graduate from Gaza’s Islamic University, Jaabari was
arrested by Israel in 1982 when he was an activist with Fatah, the
secular Palestinian national movement which has long been a bitter
rival of Hamas.
It was in prison, where he spent 13 for planning deadly attacks,
where he met some of Hamas’s top leaders such as Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi,
Ismail Abu Shanab, Nizar Rayyan and Salah Shehadeh and decided to
join the movement.