Israeli air strike kills


Israeli air strike kills top Hamas commander Jabari

By YAAKOV LAPPIN, JPOST.COM STAFF
LAST UPDATED: 11/14/2012 16:22

Air strike marks the beginning of campaign to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in Gaza, IDF spokesman says, describing Jabari as a man with “a lot of blood on his hands.”

The IAF struck and killed Hamas’s head of military operations Ahmed Jabari in central Gaza on Wednesday. The airstrike marked the beginning of a campaign to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in Gaza, IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai said.

“The first aim of this operation is to bring back quiet to southern Israel, and the second target is to strike at terror organizations,” Mordechai said.

Mordechai described Jabari as a man with “a lot of blood on his hands.” The IDF has urged civilians to pay attention to instructions from the Home Front Command in light of the developments.

Over the past 48 hours, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz has approved a series of steps following a four-day rocket barrage on southern Israel.

“All options are open,” the IDF spokesman said, adding “we are very determined to strike at terror organizations.”

The IDF confirmed that Jabari was killed in the attack which came after four rockets landed in the Eshkol Regional Council area on Wednesday. The IDF was reportedly checking if the rockets were fired from Gaza or Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Wednesday’s violence came after a four-day rocket barrage which began Saturday appeared to have come to an end on Tuesday evening. The hostilities saw over 100 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel and Israeli retaliatory strikes which killed six Palestinians.

Both Israel and Hamas sent signals to each other via Egypt that they would hold their fire unless attacked, after five days of mounting violence.

An official involved in the Egyptian mediation confirmed both sides were ready to stop.

“The message was clear, and Israel too told Egypt they were not interested in escalation if rocket firing stopped. The situation now is calm for calm and I hope it does not deteriorate,” the official told Reuters.

The tacit truce arrested an escalation, but did not completely stop the violence or the rhetoric, as Israel continued to promise that it would defend its citizens.

“Whoever thinks that he can routinely attack the daily lives of the residents of the South without paying a heavy price is mistaken.

I am responsible for choosing the right time to exact the highest possible price and so it will be,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

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