Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Israel has launched a series of airstrikes against military targets inside the Gaza Strip, killing a senior Hamas leader. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) launched the offensive named 'Operation Pillar of Defense' in response to over 100 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza over the past few days.
"The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the Gaza Strip, chief among them Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets," said an IDF spokesperson in a post on the social networking site Twitter.
According to reports, the IDF bombed at least 20 underground locations believed to house an array of long range missiles which the IDF says have the ability to reach Tel Aviv and used tanks to fire on targets. The bombings also killed Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari, who was in charge of Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, the armed division of Hamas. "The first target we targeted was Ahmad Jabari. A short time ago we completed another phase in the operation which included 20 different targets of rocket launcher pads. Israel is exercising its right to protect itself, and Jabari has a lot of Israeli blood on his hands", said Avital Leibovich, an IDF spokesman. At least ten people, some children, were killed in the airstrikes including Jabari and an unnamed associate which some reports say was Jabari's son.
"The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself," said Hamas in a statement following the killing of Jabari. Hamas says all options against Israel are "now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israel cities. Israel has declared war on Gaza and they will bear the responsibility for the consequences".
The fighting could last for days with the possibility of a ground offensive by the IDF. "There are preparations [for ground troops], and if we are required to, the option of a entry by ground is available," said Yoav Mordechai, a Brigadier-General with the IDF. Leibovich also added that "all options are on the table for us. We will do whatever necessary to protect the people of Israel."
== Sources ==
"17:45 Gaza under Israeli attack: LIVE UPDATES" — RT News, November 14, 2012
"Osama Hamdan says, regarding the assassination of Hamas top commander, 'we will respond, this I can say clearly.'" — Al Jazeera, November 14, 2012
Nidal al-Mughrabi. "Israel kills Hamas commander, bombs Gaza targets" — Reuters, November 14, 2012
"Avital Leibovich says 'all options are on the table' as far as Israel is concerned" — Al Jazeera, November 14, 2012
"Israel's aerial assault on Gaza could stretch into days of fighting, according to Israeli military" — Al Jazeera, November 14, 2012
Elior Levy & Yoav Zitun. "IDF kills top Hamas commander; prepares for ground offensive" — Ynet, November 14, 2012
Yaakov Lappin. "Israeli air strike kills top Hamas commander Jabari" — The Jerusalem Post, November 14, 2012
"Hamas military chief killed in Israeli attack" — Al Jazeera, November 14, 2012
IDF. "IDF spokesperson statement" — Twitter, November 14, 2012