Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who ran the organisation's armed wing, in car hit by Israeli missile
Israel killed the military commander of Hamas in an airstrike on the Gaza Strip Wednesday, bringing the two sides to the brink of a possible new war.
The attack came despite signs that Egypt had managed to broker a truce between Israel and Palestinian militants after a five day surge of violence which saw more than 100 missiles fired out of Gaza and repeated Israeli strikes on the enclave.
Islamist Hamas said Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who ran the organisation's armed wing, Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, died along with a passenger after their car was targeted by an Israeli missile.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jaabari because of his "decade-long terrorist activity".
"The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership," the Israeli military said in a statement.
Immediate calls for revenge were broadcast over Hamas radio and smaller groups also warned of retaliation.
"Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences," Islamic Jihad said.
A Reuters witness reported there were multiple Israeli airstrikes against the coastal enclave, but it was not immediately clear what else had been targeted.
Hamas has governed Gaza since 2007 and does not recognise Israel's right to exist. It has been emboldened by the rise to power in neighbouring Egypt of its spiritual mentors in the Muslim Brotherhood whom it views as a "safety net".
Israel last staged a full-scale attack on Gaza during a three week conflict in 2008 and 2009 in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
The peace need co-existence and tolerance which is lacking in Israel , They can not survive on the basis of military supremacy . I propose to Israeli leaders to read the history and learn some lessons of co existence, otherwise their coming generation may not forgive them
It works both ways - Hamas explicitly says it won't tolerate the presence of Israel full stop under any circumstances. That doesn't excuse Israel's actions but it's no good calling for one side to support co-existence and tolerance when the other side officially has no interest in either. Hamas is about as tolerant and and peaceful as the Israeli government, it's just that Israel has bigger friends and bigger guns, that's all.
@Doug; it is not that's all, it is about occupation, stealing land, oppression and un justice
@pal I learned from an early age that if I keep banging my head against a brick wall, I will not damage the wall but just my head.
If Hamas really wanted success then they should take another approach. The biggest victims in this are the Palastinian people.
So I am confused with what Hamas are trying to achieve with these tactics.
@all can one of you explain to me what is the difference between Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto of second world war? Don't you see the words you are using are exactly what the Nazi's used for putting down the Jewish uprising of Warsaw Ghetto? So just because there is an occupier who is militarily superior , does that justify no action ? Do you guys know why there has never been a UN security council resolution against Israel's war crimes, because USA Veto it. There is an outstanding UN resolution on Israel to return to its borders of 1948, which no one talks about! Here is an extract from the UN ; "The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices. The 9th Emergency Session of the General Assembly was convened at the request of the Security Council when the United States blocked efforts to adopt sanctions against Israel. "
@ worrybeads... crematorium's for one, by the way it was a gated community no one got out. No face covers, just sew on yellow patch to identify the Jews
.Oh yea the population decreased daily.
To quote someone.."doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result is insanity.
The Palestinians do have a right and they should get it, however what Hamas is doing is the same as insanity, so once again there is retaliation, lives lost, economy ruined..It is as if they want to keep the people in poverty. I do not know who Hamas is supposed to represent.
If the will of the people is to have freedom and lands back, then pershaps they should try a different tactic. This one has proven time and again to be an utter failure.
It is okay for Rebels in Syria, Libya to take Arms but when it comes to Palestinians, the commentary is that they should become Gandhi, and take non-volience route.
The west who is so eager to arm the Syrian/Libyan Rebels, cannot even lift the economic blockades on Gaza?
Hamas is a true Palestinian strugglers, they are justified in seeking arms to end the occupation, and daily expansion of settlers in occupied territories. The west is trying to blacken this movement which is just, for & only cause of Palestinians.
Why the world is silent and cannot stop the continuous occupation, instead of lecturing Hamas/Palestinians? First show you have the right intent/might to stop the settlement expansion.
@Procan , glad that you have managed to describe Gaza as the 21st Century equivalent of the Nazi Ghettos, because everything you said exists in Gaza today, the yellow patch is the ID card, no one can get in or out of Gaza without going through checkpoints controlled by the Israel and yes the population is decreasing daily too. Last but not least Phosphorus shells "cremate" indiscriminately.
@RaOne, please do a search on UN resolutions on Israel and see how many have been met? You then realize that the Palestinians are on their own. The truth is, no Government really cares, individuals do, but that is it. Unfortunately all the people that see the unjust situation of Palestine/Israel, remain more divided and uncoordinated than ever.