(Reuters) - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in opposite directions on Tuesday as a thousand-for-one prisoner exchange brought joy to families but did little to ease decades of conflict.
Here is a timeline of events since Shalit was captured:
June 25, 2006 - Hamas militants launch raid into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing two soldiers and capturing Shalit.
June 28 - Israeli troops invade the Gaza Strip.
Sept 15 - Letter from Shalit reaches his family via Egyptian mediators brokering a prisoner swap deal.
Oct 1 - Worst internal Palestinian fighting in a decade raises fears of a civil war in Gaza.
Nov 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 from Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
June 25 - Israeli TV airs audio tape from Shalit’s captors asking for medical treatment and release of Palestinians.
Sept 8 - Israeli special forces disguised as Hamas gunmen abduct Hamas commander to be used as “bargaining chip.”
Dec 26 - Hamas says Shalit won’t be freed unless Israel frees 1,400 Palestinian prisoners, many long-term.
April 24, 2008 - Hamas leader offers Israel six-month truce in Gaza but says fate of Shalit separate issue.
May 12 - Israel says ceasefire deal must include Shalit. Talks falter over Israel’s refusal to reopen Gaza’s border.
June 9 - Israeli television says Shalit’s family receives hand-written letter from their son.
June 17 - Israel and Hamas agree to Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Sept 25 - Hamas rejects list of prisoners Israel is ready to free in exchange for Shalit, saying it wants more.
Dec 19 - Fragile six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires as they fail to agree on terms to extend truce.
Dec 27 - Israel launches 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are killed.
Jan 18, 2009 - Israel and Hamas cease fire in Gaza.
Sept 30 - Israel and Hamas confirm deal to exchange proof that Shalit is alive for release of 20 female Palestinians.
Oct 2 - Video is handed over and authenticated in which Shalit looked “pale but in good health.”
Nov 25 - Israel rejects a demand for the release of several Hamas commanders as part of any exchange for Shalit.
June 27, 2010 - Shalit’s parents begin march from home to PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence to press for prisoner swap.
April 9, 2011 - The Israeli military says that Tayser Abu Snima, a top Hamas militant, killed in a raid, was “directly and physically involved” in Shalit’s capture.
Oct 11 - Israeli and Hamas officials say a deal has been reached to swap Shalit for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
Oct 16 - Israel buses hundreds Palestinian prisoners under heavy guard to a holding facility in the Negev desert in preparation for them to be exchanged for captive Shalit.
Oct 18 - Shalit is taken across the frontier from the Gaza Strip into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and driven to Israel’s Vineyard of Peace border crossing, where a helicopter flew him to an air base for a reunion with his parents.
Simultaneously Israel freed 477 prisoners, most of them in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas leaders greeted former prisoners piling off buses bearing Red Cross insignia.
Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit and Jerusalem Newsroom; Editing by Andrew Heavens