(Reuters) – The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas launched its biggest assault on Israel in years early on Saturday, firing a barrage of rockets from Gaza and sending fighters across the border.
Israel said it was on a war footing and began its own strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, with Israeli media reporting gunbattles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in southern Israel.
The following timeline, which begins with Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, details the major flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups in the crowded coastal enclave, which is home to 2.3 million people.
August 2005 – Israeli forces unilaterally withdraw from Gaza 38 years after capturing it from Egypt in the Middle East war, abandoning settlements and leaving the enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
Jan. 25, 2006 – The Islamist group Hamas wins a majority of seats in a Palestinian legislative election. Israel and the U.S. cut off aid to Palestinians because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognise Israel.
June 25, 2006 – Hamas militants capture Israeli army conscript Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid from Gaza, prompting Israeli air strikes and incursions. Shalit is finally freed more than five years later in a prisoner exchange.
June 14, 2007 – Hamas takes over Gaza in a brief civil war, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank.
Dec. 27, 2008 – Israel launches a 22-day military offensive in Gaza after Palestinians fire rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are reported killed before a ceasefire is agreed.
Nov. 14, 2012 – Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff, Ahmad Jabari. Eight days of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli air strikes follow.
July-August 2014 – The kidnap and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas leads to a seven-week war in which more than 2,100 Palestinians are reported killed in Gaza and 73 Israelis are reported dead, 67 of them military.
March 2018 – Palestinian protests begin at Gaza’s fenced border with Israel. Israeli troops open fire to keep protestors back. More than 170 Palestinians are reported killed in several months of protests, which also prompt fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces.
May 2021 – After weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians are wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site.
After demanding Israel withdraw security forces from the compound, Hamas unleashes a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel hits back with air strikes on Gaza. Fighting goes on for 11 days, killing at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
Aug 2022 – At least 44 people, including 15 children, are killed in three days of violence that begin when Israeli air strikes hit a senior Islamic Jihad commander.
Israel says the strikes were a pre-emptive operation against an imminent attack by the Iranian-backed militant movement, targeting commanders and arms depots. In response, Islamic Jihad fires more than 1,000 rockets towards Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system prevents any serious damage or casualties.
Jan 2023 – Islamic Jihad in Gaza fires two rockets towards Israel after Israeli troops raid a refugee camp and kill seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians. The rockets set off alarms in Israeli communities near the border but cause no casualties. Israel responds with air strikes on Gaza.
Oct 2023 – Hamas launches the biggest attack on Israel in years from the Gaza Strip, with a surprise assault combining gunmen crossing the border with a heavy barrage of rockets. Islamic Jihad says its fighters have joined the attack.
Israel’s military said it was on a war footing, adding it had carried out strikes targeting Hamas in Gaza and had called up reservists.
(Compiled by Tom Perry and Angus McDowall; Editing by Jan Harvey)