The Israeli Defense Forces struck the long-range missile capabilities of Hamas in an airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, severely damaging underground launch sites and killing Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari. The targets were pinpointed by Israeli military intelligence information, Haaretz reported. And the IDF has issued draft orders for Israeli Homefront Command reserve soldiers, Haaretz reported.

Hamas' military chief in Gaza Ahmed Jabari and Gilad Shalit. (Reuters)

Afterward, Gaza began to empty, as BBC's Jon Donnison reported on Twitter:

The Palestinian-information organization Institute for Middle East Understanding provides this account from Wasseem El Sarraj, a researcher and activist based in Gaza City:
"Around 4 p.m., I was at home in Gaza City, and I heard a loud explosion. It later became clear that it was an assassination. Since that point, we've had intense drone activity and bombing that's been sustained. I am at home with two young children, and this is very worrying to all of us. We are expecting the worst over the next couple of days."

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, told al Jazeera that Jabari had "a lot of Israeli blood on his hands." She and other IDF spokespeople noted that militants in Gaza had fired more than 100 rockets into Israel in the past week. Leibovich said: "More than 700 rockets in the last year alone – does this seem normal to a western country?" 

The Israeli military's Twitter account explained that Israel had embarked on what it calls "Operation Pillar of Defense." 

The day before Israel's strike, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet that Israel was defending its people: