Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the IDF opertation in Gaza was only beginning. Egypt has recalled its ambassador.
The IDF has confirmed that an Israel Air Force strike has killed the Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari. He was killed in a strike on a car in Gaza. A second man in the car was wounded.
Jabari was one of the leaders of the Hamas takeover of control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and he professionalized the Hamas military.
A statement on the IDF website said, "A short while ago, the Israeli Air Force struck Ahmed al-Jabari and other senior officers of Hamas' Military Wing, who were involved in planning and implementing dozens of attacks, including the kidnapping of SFC Gilad Shalit. al-Jabari was killed in an air strike in central Gaza."
IDF Spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai added that IDF operations began following the "intolerable situation in the south of the country, and seeks to harm terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.During the night, IDF Chief of Staff Gantz approved the detailed plan. All options are open in order to seriously damage Hamas and other terrorist organizations."
News of Jaabari's death sent the TASE tumbling in late trading. After staying in positive territory for most of the session, the Tel Aviv 25 Index ended the day down 0.93% at 1,189.22 points.
After the assassination, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz officially announced the start of "Operation Pillar of Cloud", and the Air Force attacked further targets in Gaza. At around 17:20, the IDF attacked a cache of Fajr missiles, which have a long range and can reach as far as Kfar Sava.
An IDF spokesperson said that the army was ready for a land operation in Gaza. "We have completed a broad attack on Gaza, focusing on the long-range fire capacity of the terrorist organizations, that is, over 40 kilometers. We have caused substantial damage to Hamas and Islamic Jihad's underground launching network. The attack was thanks to high quality intelligence of Military Intelligence, and precision weaponry. The terrorist organizations never rest from their efforts to arm themselves, and they have tuned Gaza into an advanced base of Iran. We hope that we have managed to hit most of their capabilities."
There will be no studies at any educational institutions tomorrow within a range of 40 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.
Talking to Channel 2 television, IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said, "In the coming hours the plumes of smoke will continue to rise above the Gaza Strip. We are at the height of an attack that will continue in the next few hours. If required, the option of a ground operation is also on the agenda."
"The occupation will experience hell starting from tonight," the Jerusalem Brigades, the military arm of Islamic Jihad, announced on the Palestinian news network. "The enemy has to bear full responsibility, and there will be no red lines in our response. New cities in Israel will come within the line of fire."
At a press conference this evening, Defense Mnister Ehud Barak made the following statement:
"A few hours ago, the political echelons ordered the IDF to launch Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. The accuracy of the intelligence on behalf of both the Israel Security Agency and our Military Intelligence, as well as the precise action of the IDF, led to the elimination of Hamas’ military leader Jabari. We also struck most of the long range Fajr missiles, additional Hamas infrastructure, as well as other terror elements.
"Israel does not want war. But Hamas’s consistent provocation in recent weeks, in particular the incessant rounds of artillery rockets and mortars into the heart of our southern communities, the tunnel which exploded deep into Israeli territory, the anti-tank missile fired at a jeep again inside of Israel forced our hand into acting with both precision and decisiveness.
"We must be clear that Israel will not tolerate a situation in which there is incessant [rocket] fire on our citizens. No life loving country would accept this situation.
"The goals of the operation are as follows:
"Strengthening our deterrence. To inflict serious damage on the rocket launching network To deliver a painful blow for Hamas and the other terrorist organizations To minimize damage to our home front
"I would also like to express my deep appreciation for Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel Security Agency Director Yoram Cohen, head of the Military Intelligence and his personnel, the IDF, the ‘Iron Dome’ system and its operators, and of course the Air Force. I wish you all continued success throughout the operation. The IDF will receive the full backing to do all that is necessary in order to restore quiet to the south.
"There is no ‘quick-fix’ solution. Right now, as we stand here, massive barrages of missiles are being fired at our cities. But we will achieve these aforementioned goals throughout the course of this operation.
"During the last few hours, I have spoken with mayors and regional councils throughout the south. I would like to commend them on their resilience and the spirit of the civilians in all the communities in the southern region. It is the source of our strength in this battle that we are waging today.
"We are still at the beginning of the event, not at the end, and we expect some complicated tests ahead. It will require vigilance; not only in Gaza, but also in Israel and in Judea and Samaria. But in the long run I believe that this operation will contribute to strengthening deterrence and reinstituting the calm in the south. I call upon the leaders of the region to act with composure, in order to promote stability and restore quiet so that we are not heaven forbid dragged into further deterioration."
Meanwhile, Egypt's ambassador to Israel has been recalled to Cairo.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 14, 2012
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012
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