Major events during war in Gaza

Israeli forces say they found 10 km long tunnel connecting north and south Gaza strip

(Reuters) -Israel and Hamas have been at war in Gaza since gunmen from the Palestinian militant group that runs the enclave attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages.

Israel responded with a military campaign in which about 33,000 Palestinians had been killed by early April in six months of warfare, according to medical officials in the enclave.

Here is a timeline of the war:

Oct. 7, 2023: Hamas gunmen storm into southern Israel from Gaza and rampage through communities in the deadliest single day in Israel's history.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is at war and retaliatory airstrikes on densely populated Gaza begin, along with a total siege of the coastal enclave.

Oct. 13: Israel tells residents of Gaza City, where more than 1 million people live, to evacuate and move south. Over the course of the next weeks, Israel will push for the evacuation of the entire north. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans will flee their homes, beginning a process that will soon uproot nearly the entire population of the Gaza Strip, with families often forced to flee several times as Israeli forces advance.

Oct. 19: A U.S. navy warship intercepts missiles and drones launched from Yemen over the Red Sea in the direction of Israel. Yemen's Houthi group, like Hamas an Iranian ally, will continue sporadic long-range attacks on Israel and against Red Sea shipping in what it describes as solidarity with Gaza.

Oct. 21: Aid trucks are allowed through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza after days of diplomatic wrangling. It is only a fraction of what is required in Gaza, where food, water, medicines and fuel are running out. The issue of securing adequate supplies through Israel's blockade persists through coming months as the humanitarian crisis worsens.

Oct. 27: A week after mounting limited incursions, Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, beginning with an assault on the north, and vows to free all its hostages and eradicate Hamas.

Nov. 1: Evacuations begin from Gaza through the Rafah crossing for an estimated 7,000 foreign passport-holders, dual nationals and their dependents, and people needing urgent medical treatment. The vast majority of Gaza residents are not permitted to leave.

Nov. 15: Israeli troops enter Gaza's biggest hospital, Al Shifa, after a siege of several days during which medical staff say patients including newborn babies died from a lack of power and supplies. The Israelis say the hospital had been used to conceal an underground headquarters for Hamas fighters, which staff deny. Within a few more weeks, all hospitals serving the northern half of Gaza will have ceased functioning.

Nov. 21: Israel and Hamas announce the first, and so far only, truce of the war. Fighting is initially paused for four days - later extended to seven - to exchange hostages held in Gaza for Palestinians detained by Israel and let in more aid.

Around half of the hostages - including women, children and foreigners - are released in return for 240 Palestinian women and teenage detainees, before the truce collapses and war resumes on Dec. 1.

Around Dec. 4: Days after the truce expires, Israeli forces launch their first big ground assault in southern Gaza, on the outskirts of the main southern city, Khan Younis.

International organisations say the next phase of the war, which extends the military campaign from the north to the entire length of the enclave, including areas already sheltering hundreds of thousands of displaced people, drastically worsens the humanitarian situation.

Dec. 12: Biden says Israel's "indiscriminate bombing" of Gaza is costing it international support, marking a shift in rhetoric from Israel's closest ally, the United States. Throughout coming months, Washington will become increasingly vocal in calling for Israel to do more to protect civilians, although the United States will continue to provide arms.

Dec. 15: Israeli forces mistakenly kill three hostages in Gaza. The incident leads to some of the most pronounced criticism of the conduct of the war within Israel although the campaign still has widespread domestic support.

Around Dec. 26: Israeli forces launch a ground assault on areas in the central Gaza Strip, again sending hundreds of thousands of people to flight, most of them already displaced.

From Jan. 1, 2024: Israel signals it will start withdrawing troops from northern parts of Gaza, while intense fighting continues in the south.

Jan. 11: U.S. and British warplanes, ships and submarines launch dozens of strikes across Yemen in retaliation against Houthi forces for their attacks on Red Sea shipping.

Late January: Israeli forces intensify their effort to encircle Khan Younis, again sending large numbers of Palestinians fleeing. Following this campaign, more than half of Gaza's population will end up sheltering in Rafah.

Jan. 23: Israel reports 24 soldiers killed in Gaza, its worst losses of the war.

Jan 26: The International Court of Justice in the Hague, also known as the World Court, hearing a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of a state-led genocide in Gaza, orders Israel to prevent genocide but stops short of ordering a halt to fighting.

It says some of the actions alleged by South Africa could plausibly be violations of the genocide convention enacted after the Holocaust and rejects Israel's demand to throw out the case.

Feb. 7: After weeks of diplomacy led by the United States and mediated by Qatar and Egypt, Netanyahu rejects a Hamas counteroffer for a ceasefire, describing the terms as "delusional". During coming weeks, Washington and the other mediators will push hard for a ceasefire in time for the start of the Ramadan Muslim fasting month.

Hamas says it will agree to a truce and release of hostages only if the proposal ends with an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Israel says it will not pull out until Hamas is eradicated.

Alongside the setback in ceasefire talks, Israeli officials threaten to attack Rafah. U.S. and U.N. officials say any such assault would lead to high civilian casualties.

Feb 29: More than 100 Gazans are killed queuing for aid in the presence of Israeli troops who opened fire, in one of the deadliest incidents of the war. Palestinian authorities say most of the dead were killed with heavy machine guns fired by Israeli forces in a "massacre". Israel says most died in a stampede, and its troops fired only at "looters".

March 10: Ramadan begins with no ceasefire in place. Talks will continue in coming weeks in Cairo and Doha, with both sides releasing proposals for a truce of around 40 days but rejecting each other's proposals over intractable differences.

March 12: A ship carrying 200 metric tons of aid for Gaza leaves Cyprus in a pilot project to open a sea corridor to deliver supplies to Gaza. Aid agencies say such sea deliveries, also accompanied by air drops, are not enough to replace supplies over land through checkpoints restricted by Israel.

March 18: The Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC) global hunger monitor says famine is now projected in Gaza by May without an immediate ceasefire and surge of aid. It describes the pervasiveness of food shortages as the worst it has ever witnessed anywhere. More than half of Gaza's population - far more than the 20% associated with famine - is already experiencing the worst level of food shortage, category 5 or "catastrophe". Acute malnutrition has probably also already reached famine rates. Mass death from hunger and disease, while not yet reaching famine scale, is now imminent, particularly in the north.

Israel says the report's methodology is flawed and denies there are food shortages in Gaza. It says it imposes no limits on food aid and blames any hunger on the operation of aid agencies and on fighters for hoarding food. Aid agencies say the manmade disaster is a result of Israel's blockade of most Gaza land entry points, its administrative burdens on shipments, and the lack of security resulting from the destruction of Gaza's civil administration and Israel's own military operations.

March 18: Israel launches a new assault on Al Shifa Hospital. Over the next two weeks, Israel will claim to have killed hundreds of fighters in combat there and arrested hundreds of others. Medical staff and Hamas deny fighters are present and say many civilians were killed, while medics, patients and the displaced were rounded up. The operation concludes with the total destruction of Gaza's largest medical facility.

March 25: U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after the United States abstained from the vote, causing a dispute with its ally Israel.

"This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

April 1: Israeli air strikes on a convoy kill seven aid workers for the World Central Kitchen charity, drawing a global outcry. Israel apologises and promises an investigation.

(Compiled by Peter Graff; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Clarence Fernandez and Angus MacSwan)