Israel has officially declared war on the besieged Gaza strip, Malawi Muslims Official Website can reveal.
A message sent from the official Twitter account for the Israeli Defense Forces’ press department confirmed that the Jewish state has started a new round of action against their adversaries in what is believed to be the first time that a military campaign has been issued through the social media site.
Moments later, the account confirmed that their first target, Ahmed Al-Jabari of the Ezzidine Al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas’ military wing, had been hit in the attack. In a follow-up tweet, the IDF account says they have “embarked on an operation against Hamas, an Iranian proxy responsible for terror attacks on Israel.” They then warned that Hamas operatives should “show their faces” above ground in the coming days.
Hamas has since stated that 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.”
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.
“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.
The United States has already backed Israel’s aggression in Gaza. US Ambassador Susan Rice sided with Israel during the UN session, saying that there is no justification “for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.”
The White House released a transcript of President Obama’s communications with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night. Obama stressed Israel’s right to defend itself and has decried rocket fire from Gaza into the country.
“The president urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. The two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate,” the White House statement said. Netanyahu’s office said that he “deeply appreciated” the president’s support.
With President Barack Obama now safely back at the White House for his second term, Hamas officials are blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using the “war crime” to appear tough on national security as part of his reelection bid.
Israel will hold a general election on January 22 and residents in southern Israel have been severely critical of his conservative government’s handling of rocket strikes in recent weeks.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) killed Jabari in an airstrike on his car in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Israel’s TV Channel 2 says his son also died in the missile attack. There are also reports that Raed al-Atar, the commander of Hamas’s southern division, was also killed.
The attack comes as the first step in the expanding Israeli operation which could see IDF troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip.