The head of Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed Jabri, was killed by an Israeli missile.
Jabri and a passenger were killed late Wednesday afternoon when the car in which they were driving in Gaza was hit in what Israeli military officials called a "surgical strike." The passenger was Jabri's son, according to Yediot Achronot, though it was not confirmed by other sources.
Jabri was directly responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel for the past several years, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
"The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership, as well as its terrorist infrastructure," the statement said. "This was a surgical operation in cooperation with the Israeli Security Agency that was implemented on the basis of concrete intelligence and using advanced capabilities."
Hamas' armed wing, the Izz al-Dinn Al-Qassam Brigades, reportedly said in a statement following the attack, "The occupation has opened the gates of hell on itself."
The strike came after four days of rocket fire from Gaza terrorist groups on southern Israel. More than 150 rockets are reported to have been fired from Gaza, causing damage to homes and factories.
Jabri was filmed escorting captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage in Gaza for more than five years, when he was handed over to Egypt last year on his way back to Israel.