News / Middle East

    Israeli Strike Kills Top Hamas Commander

    People look at a wreckage of the car in which Ahmed al-Jaabari  was killed, Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    People look at a wreckage of the car in which Ahmed al-Jaabari was killed, Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    Scott Bobb
    JERUSALEM — An Israeli airstrike in Gaza has killed the top military commander of Hamas with Israel warning other Hamas members not to "show their faces above ground" in the next few days.
     
    An Israeli missile killed Ahmed al-Jaabari Wednesday as he drove in a car in Gaza City, shattering a tacit cease-fire that lasted less than a day. Israeli news reports say his son was also killed.
     
    Who is Ahmed al-Jaabari?

    • Headed Hamas' military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades
    • Most senior Hamas official killed in Gaza since Israel's offensive four years ago
    • Was at the top of Israel's most-wanted list
    • Israel held him responsible for all attacks from Gaza in the last decade
    • Israel blamed him for kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006
    The attack was part of a wave of airstrikes against Islamic militants in Gaza which Palestinians say killed seven other people, including two children.
     
    Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service said Jaabari was killed because of his "decade-long terrorist activity," including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. He was one of Israel's most wanted men and is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since an Israeli invasion of Gaza four years ago.

    Top commander of Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam brigades, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, front right, pictured in Cairo, Oct. 18, 2011.Top commander of Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam brigades, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, front right, pictured in Cairo, Oct. 18, 2011.
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    Top commander of Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam brigades, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, front right, pictured in Cairo, Oct. 18, 2011.
    Top commander of Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam brigades, Ahmed Al-Jaabari, front right, pictured in Cairo, Oct. 18, 2011.
    Exchanges of rocket fire and aerial bombardments between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza resumed Wednesday evening after the attack.

    A new operation
     
    The Israeli government announced that the killing is the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants. Israel said it will be targeting sites in Gaza where mortars and rockets are stored.
     
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will keep doing everything necessary to protect its citizens, including expanding its operation in Gaza. Hamas militants frequently fire rockets into Israel from Gaza.
     
    Hamas warned Israel that "the occupation has opened the gates of hell." Egypt, which borders Gaza, has recalled its ambassador to Israel and is calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
     
    Television footage broadcast by Israel's government station showed Palestinian rescue workers struggling to extinguish flames engulfing a car on a Gaza street. The passenger compartment appeared to have been destroyed by the blast.
     
    Gaza resident Mohammad Dawwas said the situation looks like a "war is starting in Gaza" with multiple air strikes sowing panic, people running home and a prevailing fear settling in.
     
    "Airstrikes are everywhere, especially in Gaza City and the [southern and northern] Gaza Strip. People are running, going home, afraid of being injured, being shot, being hit," he said.

    Ceasefire broken
     
    Israel leaders and Palestinian militants in Gaza Tuesday had tacitly agreed to a cease-fire after four days of cross-border bombardments in which seven Gaza Palestinians were killed, and civilians in southern Israel were wounded.
     
    Story continues below 
    • Smoke rises following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    • People look at a wreckage of the car in which Ahmed al-Jaabari was killed, Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    • Palestinians extinguish a fire after an Israeli air strike on a car carrying Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jaabari, Gaza City November 14, 2012.
    • Palestinians surround the car carrying Ahmed al-Jaabari that was hit by an Israeli air strike, Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    • A man holds a copy of the Koran after an Israeli air strike on a car of Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jaabari in Gaza City, November 14, 2012.
    Defense Minister Ehud Barak, visiting troops near the Gaza border on Tuesday, issued a strong warning. He said the matter has not ended and that Israel would decide how and when to act.
     
    Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, visiting wounded at a local hospital, had indicated the armed factions in Gaza would respect the cease-fire if Israel did.
     
    Four days of cross-border rocket assaults and air strikes began Saturday when a rocket fired from Gaza struck an Israeli military vehicle near the border, wounding four soldiers.

    Subsequent Israeli air attacks on Gaza killed three Palestinian fighters and four civilians.
     
    Eight Israeli civilians were wounded as militants in Gaza fired more than 100 rockets into southern Israel over the following days.
     
    Egyptian security officials reportedly had mediated the cease-fire.

    Some Israeli officials had called for a resumption of assassinations of Hamas leaders or a military operation into Gaza in order to weaken the group that took power in Gaza five years ago.
     
    Israel invaded the enclave nearly four years ago in an operation during which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

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    Comments
         
    by: ali baba from: new york
    November 15, 2012 9:29 PM
    Who got the blame and who got the praise ? the answer bot got the blame .hamas should not throw rocket on isreal. isreal should not attack civilan.

    by: Waqas Amin Vicky
    November 15, 2012 1:33 PM
    My Question with obama that why he is favouring Israil all the time they are killing there innocent people,s children,s people are dieing there Why ? Now Obama once again choose I think he should stop them for killing

    by: LeRoy Padmore from: Jersey City,NJ
    November 15, 2012 12:36 AM
    Israel as a sovereign nation has the full right and obligation to protect and defend its citizen against any aggression like any country will do.if any country or terroristic group fire rockets into Israel,Israel will do the same or much harder.Israel has to set an example,Israel has to teach them a lessen.Israel is not an occupied nation.even before may 14,1948 there has always been a nation called Israel,there has always been a people called Jews.This is the Jewish people home land,it has always been for the Jews and it will always be for the Jews.Historical Fact or true in AD 135 the Emperor Hadrian rebuild Jerusalem new wall and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina and he also renamed Judea from Judea to Palestine and he bans Jews from their own home land.(this is history) there presence of the Jewish people has always been there,there are Biblical,Koranic and Historical evidence that the Ancient home land of the Jewish people belongs to the presence day Jewish people Gen 12:1-8,God Bless Israel,Shalom Jerusalem

    by: YAS from: Albany NY
    November 14, 2012 8:25 PM
    JNR ; If these rockets have been falling on your backyard in Wisconsin your attitude will be far different.

    by: JNR from: Wisconsin, USA
    November 14, 2012 5:12 PM
    JKF; Israelis of course have a right to defend themselves regardless of this, but I'd like to point something out. These are mostly obsolete artillery rockets and mortars. You can "aim" in a general direction, but they are not accurate and the militants firing them have not been trained in their use. So to say they are being aimed at specific targets is giving their capabilities too much credit. The Palestinians have no political or military power to resist the Israeli occupation(and that is what it will always be to the Palestinians, regardless of what us westerners think.) So they can only struggle like trapped rats with whatever is available to them.

    Also, as far as I've read, those 150 jerry-rigged old rockets killed exactly 0 people (in fact, I don't remember ever hearing of one of these rockets killing someone); Israel's retaliatory strikes killed several Palestinian civilians(and they pretty much always do.)

    by: Jim Read from: Michigan
    November 14, 2012 5:10 PM
    Sensi....If hamas aren't the ones launching the rockets into Israel then why are they taking the credit for it and saying they are the ones doing it? I mean they convinced me, I think it's them....

    by: SteveHC
    November 14, 2012 5:02 PM
    "Hamas militants frequently fire rockets into Israel from Gaza."

    - "Frequently"??? Try all day long, EVERY day. In other words, Hamas fires armed rockets at southern Israeli citizens "24/7." Israel's response is both justifiable and LONG overdue.

    by: Anonymous
    November 14, 2012 4:44 PM
    Incredible how this news source fails to mention over the past week hundreds of rockets have been fired into southern Israel, provoking this response. No skewing or taking sides by this fine upstanding news organization now, is there?

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    November 14, 2012 4:16 PM
    Once again Israel has been pushed into a defensive war; the Gaza terrorists have fired over 150 missiles into Israel in the past 4 weeks. I found it very surprising that Israel tolerated such a high number of missiles directed at its civilians; most of the missiles (rockets/mortars) fired by the terrorists were directed against civilian targets. Israel will have no choice but to retake the Philadelphi corridoer; it is clearly evident, that the naval blockade alone will not stop the flow of weapons to the Gaza terrorists. Once again, and as usual, civilians on both sides will suffer.

    by: Sensi
    November 14, 2012 2:15 PM
    The warmongering israelis trying to divert the attention from the upcoming Palestinian recognition at the UN by opening a war front and escalating the conflict... The Hamas isn't the one launching crude rockets into Israel, other militant groups are responsible...

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