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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 16:58 GMT
Timeline: Gaza blockade crisis
Developments in the Gaza Strip, Israel and neighbouring countries after the Israeli army tightened its blockade and Palestinian militants knocked over border defences with Egypt.


Gazans walk along resealed border

Egyptian forces use barbed wire and metal barricades to seal the last remaining gap on the Egyptian side of the frontier at Rafah, ending 12 days of freedom of movement for Palestinians.

The Egyptian authorities say their nationals visiting Gaza and Gazans who travelled to Egypt would be allowed to return home.


Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar says Hamas has reached an understanding with Egypt to control the breached border between Egypt and Gaza. This is denied by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza in June and refuses to negotiate with the de facto rulers, Hamas.


Rival Palestinian delegations head for Cairo, where Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says talks with Hamas are out of the question unless it ends its "coup d'etat" in Gaza.

Israeli attention is taken up entirely by publication of the Winograd report into the 2006 war in Lebanon.

The first fatalities of the new situation are recorded, as Egyptian security forces shoot dead two Ivorians attempting to enter Israel south of Gaza. Smuggling operations are said to have increased as Egyptian security forces are occupied at Rafah.


The UN Security Council ends a week of haggling by abandoning a draft statement on the crisis after Libya and the United States disagree on the wording.

Egyptian forces close all but two crossing points by erecting coils of razor wire along most of the breaches in the border.

Hamas guards prevent taxis and private cars from crossing the border but continue to let pedestrians and freight.


Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas wins international support for a proposal to taking responsibility for the Palestinian side of all Gaza's crossings, but Hamas says that past arrangements imposing a blockade on Gaza were "history" and it must have a role in future border control.

Hamas guards watch as Egyptian troops re-erect border defences

Hamas fighters co-operate with Egyptian forces to patch up parts of the frontier barrier, but people continue to pass into Egypt through Rafah, though in greatly reduced numbers.

Shops in eastern Sinai start running low on supplies, prompting complaints from local people about the situation.

Egyptian roadblocks in the Sinai peninsula prevent thousands of Palestinians from travelling to mainland Egypt.


The Egypt-Gaza border dominates a summit meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem.

Gaza inhabitants continue to cross the border hampered by wintry weather, as Egyptian forces try to urge them to go home.

In an attempt to stem the flow of people, lorries are denied access to Egyptian border towns, where Palestinians have been stocking up on much-needed supplies denied them by under Israel's blockade.


Thousands of Gazans pour into Egypt for a fourth day. For the first time, many start driving over the border rather than crossing on foot.


Over loudspeakers, the Egyptian security forces announce that the border will close at 1500 and that all Palestinians from Gaza must return to the territory.

Egyptian riot police secure Gaza border

The Egyptian police use water cannon and fire warning shots to prevent Palestinians trying to cross into Egypt. Sporadic clashes break out.

A bulldozer thought to be driven by Hamas members makes fresh holes in the wall on the Palestinian side.

Hundreds of Palestinians continue to leave Gaza for Egypt after the afternoon deadline for the border's closure.

By nightfall, Egyptian security forces are seen leaving the border, which remains open.


Tens of thousands of Palestinians continue to flood into Egypt.

US Sectary of State Condoleezza Rice calls on Egypt to control the border with Gaza.


Explosions are heard during the night in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Gaza's border wall destroyed by Hamas militants

Palestinian militants blow several openings in the border fence that divides the territory from Egypt.

Thousands of Gazans start pouring into Egypt at sunrise to stock up on essential goods.

Israel demands that Egypt close the border immediately, saying it gives the militants the opportunity to rearm and even bring in sophisticated weaponry and Gaza.

Egypt says that the border will remain open so that Gazans can get much-needed supplies and will remain so until they all return home.


Under strong international pressure, Israel temporarily eases its economic embargo, allowing fuel supplies to enter the territory for the first time in four days.

Egyptian security forces fire in the air and use batons to disperse hundreds of Palestinian protesters who had tried to force open the Rafah crossing.


Severe fuel and food shortages are reported in Gaza.

Managers at Gaza's only power plant, which supplies a third of territory's electrical supplies, shut down its generators saying there is a lack of fuel.

Gazans queue for bread amid food shortages

UN officials in Gaza say the measure amounts to collective punishment of the territory's population of 1.5 million people.

At night, much of Gaza City is plunged into darkness because of electrical shortages.

Palestinians hold candle-lit vigils in the city protesting against the embargo.

Israeli officials insist there is enough fuel to keep the power plant running and blame Hamas, Gaza's de facto rulers, of staging the crisis.


Israel announces that it will close all border crossings into Gaza, intensifying a six-month blockade imposed on the territory.

It says this is in response to continued rocket fire from the territory.

Gaza map

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