WASHINGTON // The United States is closely watching developments in Gaza following the killing Wednesday of Hamas's military chief in an Israeli air strike, a Pentagon spokesman said.
"We're monitoring the situation closely. We stand by our Israeli partners in their right to defend themselves against terrorism," Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Warren said.
Ahmed Al Jabari, the head of Hamas's military wing, was killed when his car was struck in Gaza City in an Israeli air strike. His bodyguard was wounded.
The Israeli military said Mr Al Jabari's elimination marked the start of a military operation against armed groups in Gaza.
Hamas' military wing vowed to retaliate, warning that the killing had "opened the gates of hell".
President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Tom Donilon, met Monday with his Israeli counterpart, Yaakov Amidror, at the White House at a time when Israeli authorities were considering a military response to a flareup of violence along the border with the Palestinian territory.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 14, 2012 11:50 ET (16:50 GMT)