On November 14th, 2012, the Hamas military chief, Ahmed Jabbari, was killed in an Israel Defense Forces airstrike in Gaza. His assassination marked the beginning of the IDF 2012 Gaza operation called “Pillar of Defense”.
Born in 1960 in the Gaza Strip under Egyptian rule, Jabbari as a boy was involved in militant activity against Israel. As a student at the Islamic University of Gaza, he joined Fatah, a violent Palestinian political organization with former prominent members like Yasser Arafat. Jabbari was arrested in 1982 and spent 13 years in an Israeli prison. While incarcerated, Jabbari was introduced to Hamas and joined the organization.
The airstrike on Jabbari came in response to an increase in rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. Operation Pillar of Defense continued until Nov. 21, when Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire. The operation’s goal was to destroy as many rocket launchers used by Hamas as possible.
Hamas and other Palestinian militant organizations mark the ten year anniversary of Ahmed Jabari's death. Jabari, a senior Hamas member who played a key role in the Gilad Shalit abduction was killed in the initial stages of operation Pillar of Defense. pic.twitter.com/6Fkn6yWhSd— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) November 14, 2022
Over the eight days of battle, 1,506 rockets were fired from Gaza, and 800 struck Israel, damaging homes, schools, and other sites in populated areas. Most rockets hit southern Israel, but some missiles developed by Iran reached the areas around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted 421 rockets.
Jabbari was considered the mastermind behind almost every attack out of Gaza in the years leading up to his death, including the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. Shalit was held for five years before being released in a prisoner swap through Egypt.
Ahmed Jabbari, the Hamas military chief, is killed in an airstrike on Gaza that marks the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, which aims to destroy rocket launchers targeting southern Israel.https://t.co/P5V6yOosG4 pic.twitter.com/mCx4buNo1M— Center for Israel Education (@israeleddotorg) November 14, 2022
During the operation in the aftermath of Jabbari’s death, Hamas and other terrorist organizations fired long-range rockets, such as the Iranian-made Fajr-5s, into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time. According to the IDF’s official conclusion of the operation “the IDF significantly damaged the terrorists’ missile arsenal and their launching abilities. Despite the IDF’s achievements, more than 3.5 million Israelis were still in Hamas’ range of rocket fire.”
“Due to the nature of asymmetric conflicts, collateral civilian victims are a tragic, but unfortunately inevitable, a consequence of operations in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, as usual, the IDF made great efforts to reduce the number of civilian casualties and amount of collateral damage.”
In the second tweet, published two minutes after the first one, we published a video of the airstrike on the head of Hamas’s military, Ahmed Jabari. Until today, it is by far the most popular video on the IDF YouTube channel, with 4.9 million views. https://t.co/rWnmLoTw1e— Daniel Rubenstein (@paulrubens) May 23, 2022
Unfortunately, Jabbari’s death in the long-run did not lead Hamas and the other local Gazan terrorist organizations to slow down militarized operations against Israel. In 2014, just two years after Pillar of Defense, operation “Protective Edge” began after 3 teenagers at a bus station in Gush Etzion were kidnapped by Hamas operatives and killed.