Hamas says that it is now in a state of “open war” indefinitely with Israel after the killing of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari by an Israeli airstrike.
The assassination has “opened the gates of hell,” the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were quoted by AFP as saying. They vowed to “continue the path of resistance.”
Mosques across Gaza were packed with mourners vowing revenge, as Hamas said no tactic would be left off of the table following the strike.
“The resistance’s options are now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israel cities,” Ynet cites top Hammas commander Ismail al-Ashkar as saying.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) killed Jabari in an airstrike on his car in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Israel’s TV Channel 2 says his son also died in the missile attack. There are also reports that Raed al-Atar, the commander of Hamas’s southern division, was also killed.
The attack comes as the first step in an Israeli operation which could see IDF troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Air Force strikes reportedly hit at least 20 rocket-launching pads belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad,“seriously damaging their long-range missile capabilities,” an Israeli military spokesman said. IDF tank fire also struck targets in Gaza.
A Palestinian health ministry in Gaza says that nine people, including one children, were killed in the strikes.
Jabari, who was deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing, is the most senior Hamas official to be assassinated since Israel’s sweeping 2008 military operation in Gaza.
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