He had stayed one step ahead of his Israeli enemies for years, moving house constantly and hardly ever showing himself in public. Yet he was killed at a time of great tension, when Hamas leaders usually hide themselves for fear of Israeli attack. There had been several days of skirmishing along Gaza's borders, with rocket attacks from Gaza and sporadic Israeli airstrikes. It was obvious to everyone that a crisis was brewing, and Israeli politicians had warned just hours earlier that they were about to launch an operation — although Hamas leaders seem to have mistakenly thought they had arranged a ceasefire.
They cockily brushed aside Israeli threats. It was fatal overconfidence. And until Monday at least, Hamas thought it was calling the shots.
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There may have been another reason; some Israeli observers believe Jabari may have thought Israel wanted to keep him alive because, if they killed him, more radical Palestinians would step forward to replace him. He may also have thought he was safe on his home turf in Gaza, the tiny enclave that is run by Hamas.
But Israel's stunning success in the first few days of Operation Pillar of Cloud has shown the effectiveness of its network of informers, and set off waves of paranoia in Hamas's ranks. On Friday afternoon they made a very public and bloody show of what "collaborators" can expect, executing a man who they said had guided in Israeli strikes. The victim, named as Ashraf Ouaida, was taken from prison and bundled out of a van by gunmen on a busy street, made to kneel on the pavement and shot repeatedly in the head as shoppers and pedestrians looked on.
His corpse was left lying in a pool of blood, covered with a message written in Arabic. Sources in Gaza said he was not accused of betraying Jabari. Israeli officials were keen to stress how important Jabari was — one even described him as the bin Laden of Hamas. Lieut Col Avital Leibovitch, the military spokeswoman, said he had "a lot of blood on his hands".
However the politicians, with one eye perhaps on the high stakes if everything goes wrong in their latest Gaza operation - a massive gamble just weeks before the general election - have refrained from crowing too much.
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Jabari, a father of 14 who was born in Gaza in , became acting commander of the Hamas military wing in when his predecessor was seriously wounded in an Israeli attack. As a senior commander he helped plan suicide bomb attacks that killed hundreds of civilians on Israel's streets during the bloody second intifada from to In he was in command when Gaza was wrestled from the control of more moderate Fatah forces — his old comrades.
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He began his political career in their ranks before, like so many Palestinians, he became disillusioned with their corruption and ineffectiveness and left to join Hamas. He was best known in Israel for appearing at the release of captured Israeli soldier Sgt Gilad Schalit a year ago, escorting the Israeli to the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
The release — in exchange for jailed prisoners, including more than convicted killers — was a triumph for Hamas, so important that for once Jabari made sure he appeared in the photograph, next to the dazed-looked prisoner of war. Afterwards he told an Arab journalist that the released prisoners were responsible for the deaths of Israelis.
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But he was said to have tried to restrain radicals who wanted to fire rockets at Israel, and he may have been a moderating force in the last years of his life. Israeli peace campaigner Gershon Baskin said he was: The release of Sgt Gilad was to be the high point of Jabari's success. Israel's war chieftains were among those watching his moment of triumph.
Jabari was extremely cautious with his personal safety, very rarely making public appearances   and not carrying a telephone. He always used couriers to relay his messages to other Hamas leaders. His bodyguard, Mohammed Al Hams, who was traveling with him, was also killed.
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Jabari was buried on 15 November The procession ended at the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in the northern part of the city where Jabari was buried. Hamas asserted that the Israeli "occupation has opened the doors of hell. Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of the attacks on the Gaza Strip and the killing of Jabari. President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi agreed to work together to de-escalate the situation before it escalates.
Jabari had two wives and six children. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Gaza City , Gaza Strip. Operation Pillar of Defense. Ahmad al-Jaabari — ".
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