Occupied Jerusalem: Israel and Hamas have been in regular conflict since the rise to prominence of the Palestinian Islamist group, created in 1987 at the start of the first Intifada uprising against Israeli occupation. Here is a timeline of some of the key moments.

March 22, 2004 - After a wave of Hamas suicide bombings in Israeli cities, an Israeli missile kills Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement.

April 17 - Abdul Aziz Al Rantissi, the co-founder of Hamas and Yassin’s successor, is killed by Israeli missile.

September 1, 2005 - Israeli forces complete a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, captured from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war, abandoning settlements and leaving the densely populated coastal area under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

January 25, 2006 - Hamas wins majority of seats in Palestinian legislative election. Israel and US cut off aid to Palestinians because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

June 25 - Hamas fighters launch a raid into Israel from Gaza, killing two soldiers and capturing conscript Gilad Shalit.

June 28 - Israeli troops invade the Gaza Strip, but fail to find Shalit.

November 26 - Ceasefire in Gaza announced, ends five months of Israeli air strikes and incursions that fail to free Shalit.

June 14, 2007 - Hamas takes over Gaza in brief civil war with Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Rockets regularly fired into southern Israel.

April 24, 2008 - Hamas leader offers Israel six-month truce in Gaza but says fate of Shalit separate issue. Talks fail to make progress but ceasefire eventually agreed. However, many rocket attacks on southern Israel recorded during truce period.

December 19 - Fragile six-month ceasefire expires as they fail to agree on terms to extend truce.

December 27 - Israel launches 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip after Palestinians fire rockets at southern Israeli town of Sderot. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are killed.

January 18, 2009 - Israel and Hamas ceasefire in Gaza.

April 9, 2011 - The Israeli military kills top Hamas fighter Tayser Abu Snima in a raid, saying he was “directly and physically involved” in Shalit’s capture.

October 11, 2011 - Israeli and Hamas officials say a deal has been reached to swap Shalit for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Swap takes place on October 18

March 12, 2012 - Four days of violence between Israel and Gaza fighters leaves at least 25 Palestinians dead and 80 wounded. Eight people in Israel wounded. The exchanges began after two chiefs of a smaller faction were killed in an Israeli strike.

June 23 - Israel says Hamas and other groups fire more than 150 rockets at it in a week. Retaliatory airstrikes kill at least 2 Palestinians

October 8 - Hamas and other groups fire more than 55 rockets and mortars at southern Israel. At least one fighter killed in Israeli airstrike.

November 13 - Three Palestinians and at least four civilians die in new round of violence. More than 115 rockets fired into southern Israel. Israeli army says more than 760 rockets have hit Israel since the start of the year.

November 14 - Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff; launch widespread air offensive. Warning of possible ground attack.