The significant escalations in the confrontation between Israel and Palestinian organizations in the congested coastal enclave are detailed in the chronology below, which starts with Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
Early on Saturday, the Palestinian islamist group Hamas attacked Israel in its heaviest assault in years, unleashing a barrage of rockets from Gaza and sending fighters across the border.
Israeli media reported gunfights between groups of Palestinian fighters and security personnel in southern Israel as Israel declared itself to be in a state of war and started its own attacks against Hamas targets in Gaza.
The confrontation between Israel and Palestinian organizations in the packed coastal enclave, which is home to 2.3 million people, has seen several major flare-ups during the course of the following timeline, which starts with Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
August 2005 – 38 years after Egypt was taken over by Israeli soldiers in the Middle East war, Israel unilaterally withdraws its forces from Gaza, abandoning settlements and handing over administration of the territory to the Palestinian Authority.
Jan. 25, 2006 – A majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative assembly are won by the islamist organization Hamas. Because Hamas won’t stop using violence and acknowledge Israel, Israel and the US have stopped providing help to the Palestinians.
In a cross-border operation from Gaza on June 25, 2006, Hamas militants abduct Israeli army recruit Gilad Shalit, sparking airstrikes and incursions from Israel. After more than five years, Shalit is finally let free in a prisoner swap.
June 14, 2007 – In a brief civil war, Hamas seizes control of Gaza and drives out the Fatah militias devoted to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is stationed in the West Bank.
Israel begins a 22-day military incursion in Gaza on December 27, 2008, in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israeli town of Sderot in the south. Before a ceasefire is reached, it is estimated that 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have died.
Nov. 14, 2012 – Ahmad Jabari, the head of the military for Hamas, is killed by Israel. Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian militant rocket fire continue for eight days.
2014 July–August Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths by Hamas, a seven-week conflict breaks out in which more than 2,100 Palestinians are reported dead in Gaza and 73 Israelis, including 67 soldiers, are reported dead.
Palestinian demonstrations start in March 2018 near the gated border between Israel and Gaza. To push back protests, Israeli soldiers start firing. In the course of many months of rallies, which also result in fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces, more than 170 Palestinians are reportedly dead.
May 2021 – At the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, the third holiest place in Islam, hundreds of Palestinians are hurt following weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Hamas launches a salvo of rockets into Israel from Gaza after demanding that Israel remove its security personnel from the facility. Israel responds by attacking Gaza with airstrikes. 11 days of fighting result in at least 250 deaths in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
Aug 2022 – Israeli airstrikes target a prominent Islamic Jihad commander, sparking three days of unrest that result in at least 44 deaths, including 15 minors.
Israel claims that the attacks, which targeted leaders and arsenals, were a preventative measure against an impending assault by the terrorist movement supported by Iran. Islamic Jihad replies by launching more than 1,000 rockets towards Israel. Any significant damage or casualties are avoided thanks to Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Jan. 2023: After Israeli troops raid a refugee camp and kill seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians, Islamic Jihad in Gaza fires two rockets towards Israel. Although the rockets raise fear in Israeli neighborhoods close to the border, no one is hurt. Israel reacts by attacking Gaza with airstrikes.
Oct 2023: From the Gaza Strip, Hamas launches the largest attack on Israel in years. The surprise strike combines armed individuals crossing the border with a hefty missile fire. According to Islamic Jihad, its militants have joined the assault.
The Israeli military declared that it was in a warlike situation and announced that it had launched attacks against Hamas in Gaza and called up reservists.