GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories) - Six Palestinians including top Hamas commander Ahmed Jaabari were killed in more than 20 Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the Hamas interior ministry said.
"The Israeli occupation has carried out more than 20 air strikes on targets and headquarters of the police and security in the Gaza Strip. So far, six people have been killed, including commander Ahmed Jaabari," interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan said.
He said at least 25 people had been injured in the attacks that began around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) with a strike that killed Jaabari and his bodyguard in a car in Gaza City.
Two more people died in further strikes in Gaza City, with another two killed in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, medical sources said.
Hamas earlier confirmed the death of Jaabari.
"The martyr is Ahmed Jaabari and his bodyguard was injured," Ayman Sahabani, a doctor at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said.
Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency and the military confirmed the operation.
"During a joint operation of the General Security Service (Shin Bet) and the IDF (army) today, Ahmed Jaabari, the senior commander of the military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was targeted," a statement from the Shin Bet said.
"In the past hour, the IDF targeted Ahmed Jaabari, the head of Hamas's military wing, in the Gaza Strip," the military added in a statement, saying Jaabari "was a senior Hamas operative... directly responsible for executing terror attacks."
"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 attacks came after a flare-up in violence between Israel and Gaza-based groups, which saw more than 120 rockets fired from the Palestinian territory into Israel, and Israeli air strikes and shelling that killed seven people.