In an Israeli airstrike, after almost non-stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

Via Times of Israel:

The Israeli Air Force on Wednesday bombed a car in Gaza City, killing Ahmed Jaabari, the head of Hamas’s armed wing — the equivalent of an army’s chief of staff.

The IDF confirmed the airstrike on Jaabari, and said that it had launched a “widespread campaign on terror sites and operatives in the Gaza Strip, chief among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets.”

According to reports, a second man who was in the car with Jaabari was also killed.

Palestinians reported that there had been additional IAF airstrikes in Khan Yunis and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Jaabari was credited with being one of the leaders of Hamas’s violent putsch to take control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and masterminded the professionalization of the Hamas military.

Israel attempted to kill Jaabari in an airstrike in 2004, but ended up killing his eldest son, his brother, and several cousins instead.

Despite being a stickler for personal security, Jaabari personally escorted captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the 2011 handover to Egyptian authorities, who then released him to Israel. Video footage from the handoff showed the Hamas leader standing behind Shalit.

Several Israeli ministers have hinted in recent days that the government was mulling a resumption of its targeted killings policy following the firing of over 160 rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip between Saturday and Tuesday.

What this means, of course, is that Israel still has the intel ability to find out the cars in which Hamas big-wigs are traveling.

Expect a major escalation now, something which was inevitable as Gaza continued its transformation into a major Iranian base for use in a future conflict with Israel. My guess is that Israel decided to face the threat now rather than later, as rockets have specifically targeted Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor.

Gabriel Malor has an interesting take on the situation:

Updates: Israel Matzav is updating events, including news that Israel pre-emptively took out 20 long-range rocket storage sites.

IsraelyCool posts this video of the deceased:

And the official IDF video of the killing, via Jewish Press: