As Israel launched a full-scale attack on Gaza with frequent sounds of rockets still being heard in Gaza - killing 13 and injuring over 100 - Hamas vowed to avenge the Israeli strike and the assassination of its military leader Ahmed Jabari.
Hamas stated it will carry out a revenge plan on Israel by sending in suicide bombers and declaring a state of open war.
The commander’s assassination has "opened the gates of hell," the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were quoted by AFP as saying.
"The occupation committed a dangerous crime and crossed all the red lines, which is considered a declaration of war," he said in a statement. Hamas vowed to "continue the path of resistance."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an immediate Arab League meeting in response to Wednesday's attack.
Mosques across Gaza were packed with mourners vowing revenge. The streets outside the hospital where Jabari's body was taken were filled with thousands of angry Palestinians chanting "retaliation" and "We want you to hit Tel Aviv tonight." Among the mourners outside the Shifa hospital in Gaza City were armed men firing into the air.
Gaza's Health Minister Dr. Mufeed Mkhallalati said a total of 10 people were killed, including Jabari. Fourty five people are reported injured, 10 of them are in critical condition. An 11-month-old and a 6-year-old girl were among the dead.
Six rockets were fired from Gaza toward Beersheba following the airstrike on Wednesday evening, Israel’s Army Radio reported. One rocket hit a shopping center in the city, while there were other media reports that a vehicle was struck in the attack. No casualties were reported.
The Israeli Press Office said“The Iron Dome missile defense system has thus far intercepted 15 rockets fired at Israel.”
Hamas said no tactic would be left off of the table following the strike.
"The resistance's options are now open and they include suicide attacks and quality attacks in Israel cities," Ynet cites top Hammas commander Ismail al-Ashkar as saying.
Hamas spokesman Khalil Al Haya vowed its Zionist enemy would "pay a price for this cowardly assassination.”
“The assassination of this great leader Amhed Al-Jaabary clearly confirms that we are still in the heart of resistance with the Israeli enemy; the Zionist enemy knows nothing but the language of killing and blood; our battle with the enemy is an open battle; God willing, this battle will end with Palestine and Jerusalem liberated. They should wait for our action, not words,” RT Arabic cites him as saying.
Senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said the assassination will not "break the will of our people, nor weaken our resistance," Al-Rishq wrote on his Facebook page, Al Ahram reported.
He added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is using the "war crime" to appear tough on national security as part of his reelection bid, though his plan could backfire.
09:17 AM: Three Israeli civilian killed by rocket fired from Gaza.
8:58 AM: Rocket from Gaza hits a house in southern Israel. 133 rockets fired from Gaza during the last 24 hours.
8:32 AM: Since midnight, the Iron Dome has intercepted 13 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
7:23 AM: This morning, the IDF dispersed leaflets above several locations in the Gaza Strip, warning local residents to stay away from Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
The contents of the leaflet:
“Important announcement for the residents of the Gaza Strip:
For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety.
Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region.
Israel Defense Forces Command.”
7:18 AM: Overnight, approximately 100 medium and long range rocket launch and infrastructure sites across the Gaza Strip were targeted. The aim of this targeting is to impair the rocket launching capability of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip such as Hamas, and damage their future build up. Furthermore, IAF aircraft targeted several rocket launching squads while these were preparing to fire rockets into Israel, and tank shells were used to target several terror activity sites.
5:30 AM: So far today an additional seven rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel. Since the beginning of the operation, 54 rockets struck southern Israel — overall, 822 rockets in 2012. The Iron Dome system has successfully intercepted 28 rockets, while IDF forces have struck 105 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip.
4:30 AM: Since the beginning of the operation, the IDF has struck approximately 100 terror targets, with the combined forces of the Israeli Air Force and Navy. So far the Iron Dome system has successfully intercepted 28 rockets ( via rt.com ).