Ahmed al-Jabari, commander of Hamas' military wing in Gaza, has been blown up by Israel in a targeted airstrike.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that Jabari is "the most senior Hamas figure to be killed for four years."
Israel on Wednesday destroyed a car carrying Jabari in retaliation for recent rocket fire launched from Gaza into Israel.
Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, made this statement:
Jabari was responsible for financing and directing military operations and attacks against Israel. His elimination today is a message to Hamas officials in Gaza that if they continue promoting terrorism against Israel, they will be hurt.
The Chronicle reported this was among several retaliatory strikes in a new IDF operation called Pillar of Defence:
Further air strikes reportedly took place over Khan Younis and Rafah. Some media reports suggested Israel had also hit Hamas-run police stations in the Gaza Strip.
— Sara Hussein (@sarahussein) November 14, 2012
Just yesterday, Israel warned it may resume the practice of assassinating enemy leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday:
Whoever believes they can harm the daily lives of the residents of the south and not pay a heavy price is mistaken. I am responsible for choosing the right time to collect the highest price and so it shall be.
He was also known for personally escorting Gilad Shalit ... to Egyptian intermediaries last year as part of a prisoner exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Video of the handoff to Egypt showed Mr. Jabari standing near Mr. Shalit.