Key events in latest Israeli-Palestinian fighting

 

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  • Key events in latest Israeli-Palestinian fighting

The Associated Press

Israeli troops pressed on with their ground offensive into Gaza on Friday after a 10-day military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas' weapons arsenal and rocket-firing capabilities. The fighting has seen 274 Palestinians killed in Gaza, around a fifth of them children, and two Israelis, including a soldier, according to officials from each side.

Here are the key events from the fierce fighting in the lead-up to and the start of the ground invasion:

July 8 — Israel launches "Operation Protective Edge" in a bid to quell near-daily militant rocket attacks in the aftermath of the abduction and killing of a Palestinian teenager in what appeared to be a revenge attack for the seizure and slaying of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.

July 9 — Hamas rockets rain deep into Israel as the military pummels Palestinian targets. The military says 74 rockets landed in Israel, including in the northern city of Hadera, the deepest rocket strike ever from Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas will pay a "heavy price."

July 10 — Israel intensifies its bombardment. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges an immediate cease-fire but neither side shows much interest in halting the fighting.

July 11 — Netanyahu vows to press forward with a broad military offensive. The Israeli military says it has hit more than 1,100 targets, mostly rocket-launching sites, while Palestinian militants fired more than 600 rockets at Israel. The Lebanese military says militants there fired three rockets toward Israel and the Israelis retaliated with about 25 artillery shells.

July 12 — Gaza City becomes a virtual ghost town as streets empty, shops close and hundreds of thousands of people keep close to home. The death toll rises to more than 156 Palestinians after more than 1,200 Israeli air strikes.

July 13 — Israel widens its campaign, targeting civilian institutions with suspected Hamas ties, and briefly deploys ground troops inside Gaza to raid a rocket launching site. Four Israeli soldiers are hurt during the brief incursion. Egypt, a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, continues to work behind the scenes.

July 14 — Israel says it's downed an unmanned drone along its southern coastline. Egypt presents a cease-fire plan that is praised by President Barack Obama at a White House dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

July 15 — Israeli Cabinet accepts Egypt's truce plan, halting fire for six hours but Hamas rejects the proposal, instead unleashing more rockets at Israel and prompting Israel to resume heavy bombardment. Rocket fire kills an Israeli man delivering food to soldiers, the first Israeli fatality in the fighting. Four Gaza boys, all cousins, are killed on a beach by shells fired from a navy ship.

July 16 — Hamas fires dozens of rockets into Israel, vowing not to agree to a cease-fire until its demands are met. The Gaza Interior Ministry's website says Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes, targeting 30 houses, including those of four senior Hamas leaders. Later, both Israel and Hamas agree to a five-hour U.N. brokered "humanitarian" pause to start the following day.

July 17 — Both sides trade fire in run-up to the brief truce, which Gazans use to restock on food and other supplies. Israel says it foiled an attack by 13 Gaza militants who infiltrated through a tunnel. Fierce fighting resumes after the truce expires, including an airstrike that kills three Palestinian children. After nightfall, the Israeli military launches a ground invasion into Gaza Strip.

July 18 — Israeli troops push on into Gaza and Netanyahu orders the military to prepare for a "significantly" wider campaign as Israel sees its first military death. The military says it killed nearly 20 militants in exchanges of fire in the coastal territory while Gaza health officials say more than 30 Palestinians have been killed since the ground operation began.

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