On 8 July 2014, Israel launched a military operation which it designated Operation Protective Edge in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Thereafter, seven weeks of Israeli bombardment, Palestinian rocket attacks, and ground fighting resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 people, the vast majority of them Gazans.
The stated aim of the Israeli operation was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank was launched following the 12 June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members. Conversely, Hamas's goal was to bring international pressure to bear to lift Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, end Israel's offensive, release Palestinian prisoners and overcome its political isolation, after, it is claimed, Israel was the first, on June 13, to break the ceasefire agreement with Hamas that had been in place since November 2012.
On 7 July, after seven Hamas militants died in a tunnel explosion in Khan Yunis which was caused by an Israeli airstrike or an accidental explosion of their own munitions , Hamas assumed responsibility for rockets fired into Israel and launched 40 rockets towards Israel.
The operation officially began the following day, and on 17 July, the operation was expanded to an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza with the stated aim of destroying Gaza's tunnel system; Israeli ground forces withdrew on 5 August. On 26 August, an open-ended ceasefire was announced. By that date, the IDF reported that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups had fired 4,564 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, with over 735 intercepted in flight and shot down by Iron Dome. Most Gazan mortar and rocket fire hit open land, more than 280 fell on areas in Gaza while only 224 struck residential areas. The IDF attacked 5,263 targets in Gaza; at least 34 known tunnels were destroyed and two-thirds of Hamas's 10,000-rocket arsenal was used up or destroyed.
Between 2,140 and 2,310 Gazans...