Gaza timeline: Main events in years of Israel-Hamas clashes
JERUSALEM (AP) — The latest round of fighting in Gaza is rooted in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and comes after Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers have fought three wars in the past decade.
The fighting in recent years has killed thousands of Palestinians and scores of Israelis, but has yet to dislodge the Islamic militant group or resolve any of the other underlying disputes between the two sides.
Here is a look at some key events in the Israel-Hamas conflict:
Israel withdraws all settlements and military personnel from the Gaza Strip, marking the end of its 38-year occupation of the territory.
The Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas wins an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections, sparking a struggle for primacy with its rival, the Fatah movement of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas militants capture Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in a cross-border raid, triggering heavy fighting with Israel. Schalit is released five years later following a lopsided prisoner exchange.
Hamas violently ousts Fatah forces from the Gaza Strip and solidifies its control of the territory. Israel and Egypt tighten their blockade of Gaza, which will devastate Gaza’s economy over the next decade. Two rival governments emerge, Hamas in Gaza and the Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
In response to heavy rocket fire from Gaza, Israel launches a major three-week offensive. After a 22-day war that kills 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, the two sides announce a cease-fire.
Israel targets and kills Hamas military chief Ahmad Jabari, sparking eight days of militant rocket fire and an Israeli air campaign. Egyptian mediators secure a cease-fire after some 150 Palestinians and six Israelis are killed.
Following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members, Israel conducts a sweep against Hamas in the West Bank, prompting rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli air raids in response. The seven-week conflict that ensues results in more than 2,200 Palestinian deaths in Gaza, more than half of them civilians. In Israel, 67 soldiers and 6 civilians are killed. Israel comes under heavy international criticism for its use of what the United Nations calls disproportionate force.
Palestinian protesters, led by Hamas, stage massive demonstrations along the perimeter fence against the blockade. Although mostly unarmed, many protesters burn tires, throw rocks and grenades at Israeli troops and damage the perimeter fence. Israeli troops kill more than 170 protesters over a period of several months. Israel says it is defending its border but is accused of using excessive force. Israel and Hamas engage in a number of rounds of intense but brief fighting during this time.
Violence flares up after a botched Israeli undercover raid into Gaza that killed seven Palestinian militants and a senior Israeli army officer, marking the most serious escalation since the war in 2014. Gaza militants fire hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, killing a Palestinian laborer in southern Israel. At least seven Palestinians, among them five militants, are killed in Gaza.