The head of the military wing of Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, is dead. Commander of the al-Qassam Brigades, Ahmed al-Jaabari and his deputy, who was with him in the car, were killed instantly in the explosion caused by an Israeli airstrike.

Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence service confirmed it had carried out the attack, saying it had killed Jaabari because of his "decade-long terrorist activity…. His elimination today is a message to Hamas officials in Gaza that if they continue promoting terrorism against Israel, they will be hurt."

Jaabari is said to be the most senior Hamas official to be killed ever since an Israeli offensive in Gaza four years ago. In light of this attack there are real fears now of a huge escalation in the violence particularly as the military in Israel said that today's assassination is the beginning of an operation against Gaza militants.

Written and presented by Marverine Cole.