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Monday, July 03, 2006

Israel Strikes Offensive for Freedom of Captured Soldier-Timeline

03 Jul 2006 09:44:56 GMT
Source: Reuters

July 3 (Reuters) - Israel has launched an offensive to try to get Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to free a soldier captured a week ago.

Below are some of the main events so far:

June 25, 2006
* Militants including members of the governing Hamas movement carry out cross-border raid from Gaza, killing two Israeli soldiers and abducting Corporal Gilad Shalit. Two attackers are killed.

June 28
* Israeli aircraft strike bridges in Gaza while helicopters knock out main power plant, cutting off electricity for hundreds of thousands of residents.

* Troops and tanks enter southern Gaza, taking control of the disused international airport in the biggest raid into the territory since Israel quit Gaza in 2005 after 38 years of occupation.

* Israeli warplanes buzz one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's palaces in a warning to him and the exiled Hamas leaders that he hosts.


June 29
* Israel detains dozens of Hamas cabinet ministers and lawmakers in the occupied West Bank in a move the Islamist group says is aimed at toppling its government.


June 30
* Israeli warplanes set ablaze the Interior Ministry offices of the Hamas government in Gaza.


July 1
* Factions who captured Shalit demand Israel free 1,000 "Palestinian, Arab and Muslim prisoners" and end Gaza assault in return for his release. Israel rejects the demands.

* Palestinian official, quoting mediators, says Shalit is alive and in good condition after being treated for wounds.

* U.S. President George W. Bush says release of Shalit should be the first step to ending Gaza crisis.


July 2
* Israel helicopter fires missile at empty Gaza office of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas a few hours before dawn.

* Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will strike anyone who harms its citizens.

* Israel reopens Karni, the main commercial crossing into Gaza, as humanitarian crisis looms in the strip.


July 3
* Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozers push into the northern Gaza Strip in what an Israeli military source describes as a "pinpoint operation" to locate tunnels and explosives near the border fence.

* Militants who abducted Shalit give Israel less than 24 hours -- until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) -- to meet their demands to release Palestinian prisoners, threatening unspecified consequences if it refuses.

* A Palestinian gunman in the northern Gaza Strip is killed by an Israeli aircraft, witnesses said.


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