Jerusalem/Gaza: Renewing targeted assassination, an Israeli airstrike killed Islamist Hamas' top military commander in the Gaza Strip, evoking war cries from militant Palestinian faction that vowed revenge by committing suicide attacks in Israel.
Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip since June 2007, said Ahmed Al-Jabari, who headed the organisation's armed wing, the Izz al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, died along with his son after their car was targeted by an Israeli missile.
"The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself," the militant faction said after the assassination.
"The resistance's options are now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israel cities," Ismail al-Ashkar of Hamas said vowing revenge.
lsrael Defence Forces (IDF) said Jabari's assassination marks the beginning of Operation Cloud Pillar against Gaza terrorists.
Israel's Air Force also pounded some twenty sites in the coastal Strip which were termed as rocket launching pads by the army as a pre-emtive measure to prevent rocket and mortar attacks.
Gaza militants have fired about 100 rockets and mortars on Israel's southern areas in the last five days.
The attack came amid signals that Egypt was about to broker another informal truce.
IDF also launched tank attacks amid speculations that an escalation could even lead to a ground operation by Israel in Gaza.
IDF has decided to deploy additional infantry units in the south ahead of any such move.
Palestinian sources said that some six people were killed in the aeriel attacks that followed Jabari's assassination.
They claimed that Israel also tried to kill Ra'ad al-Atar, another senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam commander, who survived the attack.


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