A day after Hamas
military chief Ahmed Al-Jabari
was assassinated in an IAF strike, thousands attended his funeral in Gaza on Thursday.
Meanwhile, terror groups continued to fire dozens of rockets on southern Israel.
One grad rocket that hit the city of Kiryat Malachi killed three and injured nine.
The IDF continued to strike terror hubs in the Gaza Strip overnight as part of Operation Pillar of Defense. One airstrike on Khan Younis killed three terrorists gearing towards launching rockets. The IDF braced for an escalation in the rocket fire during Jabari's funeral.
The funeral procession left Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital and continued towards Jabari's home. Hamas gunmen accompanied the crowds and fired in the air. No top Hamas officials attended the funeral for fear that Israel would exploit the opportunity to carry out another assassination.
The procession was expected to reach one of the major mosques in the city. Jabari was initially supposed to be buried at Gaza's central cemetery alongside other Hamas officials, but it was eventually decided that for security reason he would be buried in a small cemetery in the Strip's north.
Hamas on Wednesday pledged to avenge the death of Jabari, who was killed in an IAF airstrike.
The group’s military wing issued a short statement saying that “the occupation has opened the gates of hell.”
Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar said that the “resistance’s possibilities” are now open and include suicide bombings and high profile attacks inside Israeli cities.
“The resistance can cause Israel great misery,” he said.
The Hamas government in Gaza called Jabari a "great commander and symbol of the resistance," and said it holds Israel responsible for the attack.
"The assassination constitutes an exacerbation of the Zionist escalation in the Gaza Strip and opens the door for a new phase of conflict,” Hamas said.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org