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Israel's offensive in Gaza: a timeline

Here is a timeline of events since Israel began its offensive against Hamas 10 days ago, killing at least 580 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,700.

world Updated: Jan 06, 2009 15:46 IST

Here is a timeline of events since Israel began its offensive against Hamas 10 days ago, killing at least 580 Palestinians and wounding more than 2,700.

Saturday, December 27

- Israel launches a massive air assault against Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, controlled by the Islamist movement since June 2007.

- Israel says "Operation Cast Lead," an attack on an unprecedented scale on a Palestinian territory since 1967, is aimed at halting militant rocket attacks which increased after six-month truce with Hamas ended December 19.

Sunday, December 28

- Warplanes bombard 40 tunnels along the Egypt-Gaza border to prevent Hamas being supplied with arms.

Monday, December 29

- Defence Minister Ehud Barak speaks of "all-out war against Hamas."

Tuesday, December 30

- Israeli naval vessel collides with boat carrying activists and medical supplies trying to break Gaza blockade.

Wednesday, December 31

- Israeli air strikes continue. Rockets fired from Gaza land more than 40 kilometres (25 miles) inside Israel.

- Hamas vows to fight "until the last breath" if Israel launches ground offensive.

Thursday, January 1

- Israeli army pounds administrative buildings in Gaza, smuggling tunnels and rocket-making workshops.

- Senior Hamas official Nizar Rayan killed in air raid.

- Olmert says Israel does not want "long war".

Friday, January 2

- Thousands of Palestinians demonstrate in "Day of Wrath" in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Protesters clash with Israeli police.

- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls for ceasefire that would permanently prevent Hamas from resuming rocket attacks on Israel.

- At least 430 Palestinians killed and 2,250 wounded in Israel's seven days blitz, according to Gaza officials.

Saturday, January 3

- Around 8:30 pm (1830 GMT), the Israeli military announces that its troops have entered the Gaza Strip.

- Army says "large number" of troops involved in the operation, aimed at taking over rocket-launching sites in the Hamas-run territory.

- Defence Minister Ehud Barak signs order "urgently calling up thousands of reserve soldiers" to join Gaza fighting, his office says.

- Israeli tanks reported around the northern towns of Beit Lahiya and Jabaliya. Witnesses say Hamas forces responding with mortars and rockets.

- Hamas vows Israel will pay a "high price" for the invasion. Gaza will become Israeli troops "cemetery," says spokesman Ismail Radwan says.

- UN Security Council meets during the night but fails to agree on a statement calling for a ceasefire.

Sunday January 4

- Thousands of Israeli troops backed by tanks battle Hamas fighters.

- Israeli forces surround Gaza City. Clashes reported around the northern towns of Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanun and Jabaliya.

- Witnesses say Israel controls Salaheddine Road -- the main highway along the length of the enclave -- cutting the territory in half.

- Medics say 70 Palestinians have died since Israeli troops entered Gaza.

- Israel will not reoccupy Gaza, says President Shimon Peres.

- Hamas seeks unconditional national Palestinian dialogue.

- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejects telephone pleas from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to halt the offensive.

Monday January 5

- Israeli troops have partially surrounded Gaza City and Hamas has been hit hard, Defence Minister Ehud Barak says as the ground offensive continues.

- Mahmud Zahar, a top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, vows the group are heading to "victory" against Israel.

- Bodies of at least 12 children are among 50 corpses taken to Gaza hospitals during the day after air and tank attacks, medics said.

- The death toll of Palestinians since the Israeli campaign began rises to 525, including almost 100 children, according to the head of the Palestinian emergency services.

- One Israeli soldier has been killed and 55 wounded, says army.

- At least three Israeli soldiers died in fighting in the Gaza Strip, television networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya report.

- Hamas says it has killed several Israeli soldiers during clashes in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of eastern Gaza City. Israeli military sources confirm heavy clashes there but refuse comment on possible Israeli casualties.

- The Islamic Jihad group, an ally of Hamas, says at least one of its fighters died in the Gaza City battle.

- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rejects European calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Tuesday January 6

- Israeli tanks firing cannons and machine guns and supported by helicopter gunships move into the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip before dawn, say witnesses. The armoured force is met by return fire from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups.

- Six Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli tank fire in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah, medics and witnesses said, bringing the Palestinian death toll to at least 580.

- The army said three soldiers from the elite Golani Brigade were killed and 24 wounded in northern Gaza when their position was accidentally hit by Israeli tank fire.

- Israeli troops and Hamas militants fight their first major battles in Gaza City.

- Israeli strike kills two Palestinians in Gaza when it hit a United Nations school in the south of the Hamas-run enclave, medics said.

- Army says an paratroop officer was killed overnight during clashes with Hamas fighters.

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