Ahmed Al-Jaabari, who ran the armed wing of Hamas, was killed in an Israeli airstrike today.
The military wing of Hamas said in a statement that the assassination “has opened the gates of hell”.
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 organization’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.