The following is a timeline of events leading to the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip that began on December 27 with Israel’s aerial bombardment of Hamas-linked compounds in the coastal sliver:
January 5 2009
June 19: An Egyptian mediated ceasefire begins between Hamas and Israel. The Palestinian movement agrees to stop firing rockets as Israel accepts to gradually ease its embargo on the Gaza Strip.
July 27: Israel kills Shihab al-Natsheh, a senior Hamas fighter, in his house in the West Bank city of al-Khalil.
August 2: Three Hamas police officers and six pro-Fatah gunmen are killed in factional fighting in the Gaza Strip, the worst of such since June 2007.
October 8: Israel prevents Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) from entering the embattled Gaza Strip.
November 5: Israel raids houses in the Hamas-controlled region and arrests seven Palestinians.
Israel attacks areas inside Gaza, killing at least six Palestinians. Ghassan el-Taramse, a nineteen-year-old Palestinian activist, is killed in an Israeli air raid in the northern parts of the coastal sliver.
Palestinians fire several dozen rockets and mortar shells at western Negev in Israel in retaliation. No casualties or property damage is caused, but three women are treated for shock.
November 8: Israel violates the ongoing truce as its tanks and bulldozers cross the southern border of the Gaza Strip.
November 14: Hamas fires a barrage of homemade rockets at the city of Ashkelon. Four rockets are also fired into western Negev after Israeli air strikes wounded two people in Gaza.
November 15: Israeli air strike kills two Palestinians in the town of Beit Hanoun in Gaza.
November 18: Israeli tanks backed by a bulldozer and a military jeep roll half a kilometer into Gaza. The Israeli army claims the incursion is “a routine operation to uncover explosive devices near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.”
November 20: An Israeli tank fires shells, killing a Palestinian fighter east of Gaza City.
November 23: The Israeli army wounds two Palestinian residents while shelling homes in various cities in the strip.
November 28: Israeli forces backed by tanks enter the southern parts of the coastal region and kill two Palestinians.
November 29: Projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip wound eight Israeli soldiers in an army base in the town of Nahal Uz.
December 02: The Israeli army launches air strikes into southern Gaza and kills at least two civilians and wounding four others.
December 17: Five Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip injure two Israelis in the southern town of Sderot.
December 18: A Palestinian man is killed in Jabaliya as Israeli aircraft target metal workshops in the towns of Jabaliya and Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military claims the targets are used to manufacture rockets.
December 19: The six-month truce officially ends.
December 20: Israeli launches air strikes on the northern Gazan town of Beit Lahiya, killing one Palestinian and wounding two others.
December 21: Palestinian fighters fire rockets into Sderot and Negev and one Israeli is wounded.
December 22: A twenty-four hour truce is declared between Israel and armed Palestinian factions at the request of Egyptian mediators.
December 23: The twenty-four hour truce expires.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters leave three members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades dead along the border fence in northern Gaza.
Six Qassam rockets are fired into western Negev. The rocket attacks do not hit any targets in Israel.
December 24: Gaza fighters fire two dozen mortar shells at three different targets inside Israel.
An Israeli air raid kills a Palestinian and wounds two others in southern Gaza.
December 27: Israeli F16 bombers and apache helicopters carry out at least 30 simultaneous raids on various targets across the Gaza strip. The operation kills at least 230 and wounds hundreds of Palestinians.
Hamas responds with rocket fire from Gaza and kills one Israeli in the southern town of Netivot.
December 28: Israel begins a fresh wave of air strikes. Israel deploys tanks and troops along the Gaza border. Tunnels in and out of Gaza are bombed.
A Hamas missile strikes near the largest city in the south of the occupied lands, the deepest reach into Israel to the date.
Global protests against the Israeli attacks begin.
Palestinian death toll rises to 296; 900 are injured.
December 29: The third day of attacks on the strip brings the death toll to 340. At least 1,400 Palestinians are wounded.
Muslim world announces day of mourning.
Two more Israelis are killed and one is injured.
December 30: Israeli air operations continue as Tel Aviv declares the area around Gaza a ‘closed military zone’.
Israeli floats the idea that a ground invasion of Gaza is imminent.
Palestinian casualties rise to 360 dead and 1,500 injured.
December 31: Israel continues tunnel attacks and civilian casualties increase.
Hamas says Gaza will be victorious.
The UN and Arab League find no solution to end the crisis.
Palestinian death toll rises to 400 with 1,600 injured.
January 1: Israeli bombardments continue; first senior Hamas official dies in air attacks.
Israel denies a 48-hour request for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza by rejecting an EU truce.
Hamas calls for Palestinian protests; it rockets hit several positions.
417 Palestinians and 6 Israelis dead.
January 2: Curfew imposed on West Bank and foreigners are told to leave Gaza.
Top Israeli ministers discuss ground invasion into the Gaza Strip. The United Nations condemns Israel and describes situation in Gaza as “appalling”.
Kadima, Israel’s ruling party, losses ground in polls ahead of elections.
Death toll continues to rise.
January 3: A senior leader of the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas is killed in Israeli air strikes in Gaza.
Hamas warns Israel not to “commit the stupidity” of taking its offensive to the next level. The group says its fighters have foiled an attempt by Israeli ground forces to cross the border into the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli cabinet approves a military ground incursion in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli warplanes bomb a bridge linking Gaza City to the rest of the coastal slither.
Hamas fires eight rockets into Israel, seven into the Western Negev and one into the Eshkol region.
Israeli warplanes raid several targets in Gaza and kill four people.
A Hamas rocket hits a four-story building in Ashdod — Israel’s second largest port - and lightly wounds four people.
An Israeli air raid on a mosque in the Gaza Strip kills at least 16 Palestinians.
Israeli tanks begin shelling areas inside the strip, causing a large explosion in Gaza City as well as a series of blasts stitching the nearby frontier with Israel.
Israeli tanks roll into Gaza.
A Palestinian rocket destroys a house in the Israeli city of Netivot.
Israel bans a “Red Cross medical team” from entering Gaza to treat injured residents.
Hamas says that nine Israeli soldiers have been killed and 25 wounded.
The United Nations Security Council calls for an emergency meeting.
January 4: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for an immediate cessation of the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli warplanes bomb the coastal region, lighting up the sky hours before sunrise.
The United States blocks a UN Security Council bid to require an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli bombers hit the Hamas-run al-Aqsa radio station inside Gaza.
A Palestinian ambush allegedly kills five Israeli troops.
Hamas says its fighters have captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes with invading Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces surround the largest city in the Palestinian territories, Gaza City.
Clashes continue between Israeli troops and Hamas fighters in four spots in the north, around Gaza City, Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya and Jabaliya.
Gaza resistance fighters fire ten more rockets into Israeli cities, two targeted at western Negev and three hit Sderot city.
Israeli bombers target heavily populated areas inside the Gaza Strip, killing five Palestinian civilians and wounding 40 others.
Medics inside Gaza confirm that they have found traces of “depleted uranium” in some Palestinians wounded in the Israeli ground offensive.
Israel kills two senior Hamas officials, Hussam Hamdan and Muhammad Hilo, in an air strike on Khan Yunis.
Palestinian fighters fire at least 40 Qassam and Grad rockets into southern Israel.
Israeli President Shimon Peres rejects the possibility of a ceasefire.
Palestinians target an Israeli helicopter and allegedly destroy seven Israeli tanks inside the strip.