The commander of the military wing of Gaza's Hamas rulers was killed in one of several Israeli airstrikes Wednesday, Hamas officials and Israel confirmed, in a dramatic resumption of Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian militant leaders.
Ahmed Jabari was the most senior Hamas official to be killed since an Israeli invasion of Gaza four years ago. Jabari has long topped Israel's most-wanted list. Israel blamed him for in a string of attacks, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.
Israel said the assassination marked the beginning of an offensive. It was followed by a string of airstrikes around Gaza.
On its Twitter feed, the Israeli military said it could be escalated further.