Israel hits dozens of targets in Gaza

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israel has been hitting dozens of targets in Gaza, in the most intense attack since an Israeli offensive four years ago.

Earlier today, an Israeli airstrike killed the commander of the Hamas military wing in Gaza. The killing marks a dramatic resumption of Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian militant leaders.

The Israeli military says it's the start of a major offensive called "Pillar of Defense." It says it's in response to days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza aimed at southern Israel.

Palestinians are calling for harsh retaliation. Hamas has announced a state of emergency in Gaza. It's evacuated all of its security buildings.

Ahmad Jabari was the most senior Hamas official to be killed since the last war in Gaza ended in early 2009. He has long been at the top of Israel's most-wanted list. Witnesses say he was traveling in a vehicle in Gaza City when the car exploded.

In addition to Jabari, eight others were killed in the strikes.

Israel used the tactic of targeted assassinations a decade ago, during a wave of suicide bombings against Israel. The practice set off a wave of criticism from rights groups and foreign governments.

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