Israel and Hamas call truce after 11 days: Here’s how the conflict escalated

At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the airstrikes by Israel so far and over 1,900 people have been wounded in the escalation between Israel and Palestine that ended on Friday, news agency Reuters reported quoting Gaza’s health ministry.

Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in an announcement, “I have received a phone call from President Biden in which we have exchanged visions around reaching a formula that would calm the current conflict between Israel and Gaza, our vision was in tune about managing the conflict between all parties with diplomacy,” according to Al Jazeera.

President Joe Biden said, “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” the report added.

Calls for humanitarian aid have begun after the truce in order to help in rebuilding the battered areas of Gaza.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at how the conflicts escalated into a war in the last ten-eleven days:

May 10: Hamas fires rockets

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad issued their ultimatum to Israel to remove its forces from the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The following night, Hamas launched its first barrage of rockets into Israel. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) responded by launching its own airstrikes on several targets in the Gaza strip.

May 11: Protests in Israel

The Israeli air force bombed a Gaza tower block, with the IDF claiming that at least 15 of the reported civilian casualties from the incident were Hamas’s members. The IDF that the building housed senior Hamas officials. Gaza’s ministry of health said 24 people were killed, including nine children.

Hamas responded by sending a volley of rockets towards Tel Aviv, a mostly liberal and secular coastal city of Israel.

By evening, the protests had devolved into riots and mob violence with several reported clashes between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews. The town of Lod witnessed the worst of the violence after an Arab man was killed at a protest. Emergency law was imposed after three synagogues and dozens of cars were burnt.

Israeli Border Police were called for reinforcement and dozens of arrests were made.

May 12: Coalition talks fail

Over 850 rockets are fired overnight from Gaza to Israel as many countries start sending diplomatic envoys to de-escalate the situation on the ground. The rocket strikes killed five Israelis and another Israeli soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile. At least 200 rockets fell within the boundaries of Gaza itself.

Meanwhile, coalition negotiations between two rivals of Benjamin Netanyahu fell apart due to the flare-up of violence.

May 13: Israel Intensifies Attack

Israel mobilised 9,000 of its reserve forces along the Gaza border as it threatened a full-scale invasion of the strip. A volley of rockets launched from Lebanon towards Israel hit the mark and landed in the sea instead.

Israel launched twin attacks from ground and air on Gaza. Israel claimed that it had targeted a Hamas military intelligence building.

Tensions worsened in Lod and several other cities despite increased police presence. Several groups in different countries held protests condemning Israeli action against Palestinian civilians even as Qatari, Egyptian and the UN diplomats tried to negotiate a ceasefire.

May 14: Hamas pays a heavy price

Israel air forces claimed that they dropped more than 450 bombs in 40 minutes using 80 tonnes of explosives targeting Hamas underground tunnels.

Hamas said 20 of its commanders were killed while IDF claimed that the number was higher and that most of Hamas’ rocket production capability was destroyed.

“I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas,” Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement.

Rockets from Syria were launched towards Israeli controlled Golan Heights but fell in uninhabited places.

Eleven protestors were killed in the West Bank when Palestinian protestors started flinging rocks after their evening prayers. Israeli forces responded with live ammunition and tear gas.

May 15: AP, Al Jazeera offices razed

The al-Jalaa building was levelled after being hit by four missiles by the IDF. The building housed offices of news organisations like Associated Press and Al Jazeera for over 15 years. The Israeli forces called the building owner to evacuate the building an hour before the strikes.

Just hours before the attack on the al-Jalaa building, an Israeli airstrike on a building in Gaza’s Shati refugee camp killed 10 members of an extended family.

May 16: Pope appeals for peace

The IDF reported that 40 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Ashkelon and Ashdod even as Israel stepped up its campaign of airstrikes against targets in Gaza.

Fifteen Palestinians were killed in early morning airstrikes, according to officials in Gaza.

Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, denounced the violence and appealed for peace.

Rocket attacks continued through the day, hitting targets in Ashkelon, Ramat Gan and others.

May 17: Gaza COVID Centre hit

US blocked a UN Security Council statement after a third unsuccessful meeting in the week.

Gaza’s ran out of fuel as its only COVID-19 testing centre was hit by an IDF airstrike. Rocket attacks continued unabated.

The IDF also targeted Hamas naval boats during overnight strikes. Other targets that were struck overnight in Gaza included the compound of the Gaza city mayor and the homes of four senior Hamas’s commanders. Six rocket attacks were launched from south of Lebanon late in the evening, but the situation at the border was calm.

May 18: Biden again talks to Israel, calls for peace

Rocket alerts sounded near Sderot and other communities near the Gaza border even as there were increasing global calls for a ceasefire of the hostilities. Ashdod and Rehovot also sounded rocket sirens. Two Thai workers die and eight more are injured as a result.

US President Joe Biden reportedly put pressure on the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to conclude Israeli operations sooner than later. At the same time, Israel conducted more than 120 airstrikes across the Gaza strip though it failed in killing Hamas leader Muhammad Deif.

Egypt first offers a truce on May 20, reports said Hamas agreed while Israel didn’t agree at first.

Protests across the Lebanese and Palestinian border continue in a massive general strike. Protests were also seen in Sheik Jarrah.

May 19: IDF fires defensive rockets at Lebanon, protests grow

IDF says it dropped 122 bombs on Hamas tunnels during the night. 250 rockets and mortars launched towards Israel from Gaza. Among IDF targets was a weapon manufacturing unit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IDF also fires at targets inside Lebanon that were said to be launching rockets.

Israeli PM Netanyahu briefs foreign diplomats that Israel wants to end the fighting.

Anti-semitic and anti-muslim attacks grow in Europe and North America following the conflict.

Controversy erupts over the blockade of aid going into the Gaza strip. 170 rioters to be indicted in Israel, only 15 of them Jewish

May 20: Ceasefire declared, with effect from 2 am local time

Eighty rockets launched from Gaza through the night but the rocket attack stops for over 6 hours as truce talks reach fruition.

Ceasefire declared to official start from 2 am local time on May 20. Concerns about Palestinian Islamic Jihad continuing its attack independently remain.

PM Netanyahu drew out the Gaza conflict to stop a possible opposition coalition from forming the government. Israel has seen 4 hung elections in the last 2 years.

Intermittent shelling and sirens before a truce was officially announced throughout the day. Poll reveals that 72 percent of Israelis believe that the conflict should continue without a ceasefire.

Stay tuned with our live blog for regular updates on Israel-Palestine conflict

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