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PHOTOS: Israel military hammers Gaza as part of Operation Pillar of Defense

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel sent a "clear message" to Hamas through the killing of its top military commander in Gaza and that it was ready to expand its operation — dubbed "Pillar of Defense" — in Gaza if necessary.

PHOTOS: Israel military hammers Gaza as part of Operation Pillar of Defense

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel sent a "clear message" to Hamas through the killing of its top military commander in Gaza and that it was ready to expand its operation — dubbed "Pillar of Defense" — in Gaza if necessary.

A military spokeswoman said the strike that killed Ahmad Jabari was only "the beginning" of an operation to target militant groups in the strip.

Hamas assualts have in recent days  included a direct hit on an Israeli tank and more than 110 missiles aimed at urban centers, according to GlobalPost's Noga Tarnopolsky.

Israel has hit back, with Army tanks shelled border areas of Gaza in south and the Israeli navy shelled a Hamas security position from the sea, Reuters reported

The Israeli air force also struck at selected targets.