January 1, 2009 / 11:08 PM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE - Israeli-Hamas violence since truce ended

(Reuters) - Israel killed a senior Hamas leader in an air attack on his home Thursday, striking its first deadly blow against the top ranks of the Islamist group in a Gaza offensive that has claimed more than 400 Palestinian lives.

Here is a timeline of events since Hamas ended a truce earlier in December:

December 14 - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says the group will not renew a six-month-old truce with Israel.

December 18 - Hamas Islamists declare the end of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which expires the next day with a surge of cross-border fighting.

December 24 - Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip ratchet up rocket fire towards Israel.

December 27 - Israel launches air strikes on Gaza in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire that intensified after Hamas ended the cease-fire.

December 28 - Hamas says an Israeli air strike destroys a laboratory building at the Islamic University, a significant cultural symbol of Hamas.

— Israeli aircraft bomb some 40 smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip that provide a lifeline to the outside world.

December 29 - Israel steps up its air strikes and bombs the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, the first air strike targeting a government building in the offensive.

— Israel declares areas around the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone.”

— Palestinian militants fire rockets deeper into southern Israel.

December 30 - Israeli warplanes press on for the fourth day with attacks on Hamas targets.

— Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum urges Palestinian groups to respond using “all available means” against Israel.

— Israel says its attacks herald “long weeks of military action.”

December 31 - Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh tells Palestinians that “victory is near.”

— Emergency session of U.N. Security Council to consider resolution drafted by Arab countries calling for immediate cease-fire adjourns without a vote.

January 1 - Israel kills Nizar Rayyan, a hardline Hamas leader, in an air attack on his Gaza Strip home.

— Palestinian casualties since December 27 are 412 dead and about 1,850 wounded. A U.N. agency says about a quarter of the dead are civilians.

— Three Israeli civilians and a soldier have been killed by Palestinian rockets since the air strikes began.

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