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After days of increasingly heavy artillery shelling from Gaza—and even heavier responses from the other side—Israel's military has killed a senior Hamas official in a targeted strike. Both Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces confirm that Ahmed Jabari was killed while riding in his car in Gaza, and that he was the intended target of the airstrike. Jabai commanded the military wing of the Hamas party, which governs the occupied Gaza territory. The official IDF Twitter account even reports that the attack is just the first part of a larger operation against Hamas militants.

Over the last week, hundreds of rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, leading to retaliatory strikes from Israeli tanks and war planes. The conflict was already threatening to explode into a larger war and Israeli officials even confirmed that they were considering targeted assassinations of specific Hamas officials, in order to quell the violence. However, now they've carried out the threat and killed a top Palestinian leader, even one wanted by the Israeli government, it seems more likely to stir up anger, both in Gaza and abroad, and possibly lead to further escalation before it calms things down. It also comes at a difficult time for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, who face elections in two months.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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