An Israeli strike that killed Hamas's top commander in Gaza on Wednesday is only "the beginning" of an operation to target militant groups in the strip, a military spokeswoman said.
"After the rocket fire of recent days, the chief of staff (Lieutenant General Benny Gantz) has decided to authorise the targeting of terrorist organisations in the Gaza Strip – Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others," spokeswoman Avital Liebovich told reporters, adding: "This is the beginning."
Hamas top commander Ahmed al-Jaabari and his bodyguard were injured, a doctor at Shifa hospital in Gaza City told AFP. A Hamas security source also confirmed Jaabari's death, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The armed wing of the ruling Islamist movement Hamas has claimed the attack has "opened the gates of hell."
"The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself," said a statement from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which vowed its militants would "continue the path of resistance."