Following are Key events in the crisis:
Sunday, June 25: Palestinian armed groups launch an attack on an army post on the Israel-Gaza border. They kill two soldiers and capture a third.
Israel starts to mass forces around Gaza, from whiere it had withdrawn in September 2005.
Monday, June 26: Three Palestinian groups, including the Popular Resistance Committees, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement and the Army of Islam, claim the capture of the soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit ,who also holds French citizenship.
The groups demand that Israel free detained women and minors in exchange for information about Shalit.
Tuesday, June 27: Hamas, which dominates the Palestinian government, signs an agreement aimed at ending bitter internal conflict and which implicitly recognises the existence of Israel.
Palestinian activists abduct a second Israeli youth, 18-year-old Eliahu Asheri, from a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Overnight on Tuesday/Wednesday, Israeli aircraft destroy key bridges in the Gaza Strip and knock out the territory’s sole power station, cutting off electricity to many of the 1.4 million residents.
Wednesday, June 28: Israeli ground forces enter southern Gaza. The Popular Resistance Committees threatens to kill the West Bank settler if the troops are not withdrawn, while Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, says Israel will use “extreme measures” to rescue Shalit.
Washington urges caution, but says Israel has the right to defend itself.
Israeli aircraft over-fly Syria which is home to several Hamas leaders.
Thursday, June 29: Extending its offensive to the West Bank, Israel detains scores of Hamas members, including a third of the Palestinian cabinet and a large number of lawmakers.
As the international community steps up calls for restraint, the abducted settler is found shot dead in the West Bank.
Olmert suspends a ground offensive expected in northern Gaza as Cairo tries to mediate a solution.
Friday, June 30: Israeli fighter jets blitz Gaza overnight, setting the interior ministry ablaze and striking other targets.
Israel revokes the Jerusalem residency rights of a Hamas minister and three MPs.
Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, vows his Hamas-led government will not fall and insists it is working to free the Israeli soldier, but accuses Israel of jeopardising their efforts by attacking Gaza.
Three Palestinians are wounded in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City.
Saturday, July 1: Israel rejects Palestinian demands to free 1,000 prisoners as its warplanes pound the Gaza Strip for a fourth straight night.
Shalit is said to have been treated by a Palestinian doctor for three bullet wounds.
Sunday, July 2: Israel hits Haniya’s Gaza office in a new wave of air raids as Olmert warns that his forces will use all their power to free Shalit.
A spokesman for Mahmud Abbas, the Palestinian president, says mediation efforts are nearing an impasse.
Monday, July 3: Israel sends troops and armour into the northern Gaza Strip after a series of air raids. One Palestinian is killed in clashes.
The groups holding Shalit give a 24-hour deadline of 0300 GMT on Tuesday for Israel to free Palestinian prisoners. Israel rejects the ultimatum.
Israel raids charity associations linked to Hamas in the West Bank.
Tuesday, July 4: A night-time Israeli air raid kills a Hamas activist in northern Gaza while Israeli troops advance into the area in a “limited” operation.
Israeli troops shoot dead a Fatah-linked activist in the West Bank.
Israel says after the deadline expires that Shalit is still alive, while his captors say they will not kill him.
Olmert orders the offensive to continue and rules out any negotiations.
Hamas group for the first time fire a rocket into the heart of the southern Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon, causing no injuries.
Wednesday, July 5: Israeli warplanes overnight strike the interior ministry in Gaza City for the second time.
Air raids also pound other targets in Gaza for the eighth consecutive night.
Israel’s security cabinet orders the military to intensify air raids against Hamas and “targeted killings” of armed groups.
Thursday, July 6: Twenty-two Palestinian civilians and armed groups are killed in Gaza as Israel thrusts deeper into the north, re-occupying areas evacuated 10 months ago.
An Israeli soldier,too, is killed in the fighting which is centred on Beit Layiha.
Two 16-year-old Palestinians are killed in an Israeli raid in the northern West Bank town of Jenin.
The UN Security Council debates a draft resolution demanding an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces and the release of detained Palestinian officials but the United States describes it as “unbalanced”.
Friday, July 7: Israel launches another air raid on northern Gaza, killing an armed Palestinian.
Another two Palestinians are killed by Israeli ground forces in the Beit Lahiya area.
Abbas says Israel is committing “new crimes against humanity”.