On June 25, 2006, Palestinian terrorists dug a tunnel from the Gaza Strip into Israel, where they attacked an Israel Defense Forces outpost. During the attack, two IDF soldiers were killed and four others wounded. Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli who also holds French citizenship, was kidnapped and taken back to Gaza.
The following day, the military wing of Hamas - Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades - as well as the Army of Islam and the Popular Resistance Committees released a statement offering information about Cpl. Shalit in exchange for Israel's release of all Palestinian females and minors in Israeli jails. Two days later, on June 28, 2006, Israeli forces entered Gaza for the first time since Israel's voluntary withdrawal from that territory earlier that year. The Israeli soldiers began conducting a fierce campaign against Palestinian radicals there with the aim of securing Cpl. Shalit's release.
On July 1, 2006, another statement was issued demanding Israel's release of an additional 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. On July 3, 2006, the Palestinians issued an ultimatum threatening dire consequences if Israel did not give into the kidnappers' demands within twenty-four hours. Israel responded that no prisoners would be released. Instead, Israel promised that its military operations in Gaza would become even harsher if Cpl. Shalit were not released.
Soon, however, Israel's new war turned into a two-front war. On July 12, 2006, in a well-planned maneuver, Hezbollah terrorists snuck across the Israeli border from Lebanon and fired anti-tank rockets at an Israel Defense Forces patrol, killling eight Israeli soldiers. Two other Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were kidnapped by the terrorists and taken back to Lebanon. In response, Israel began operations in southern Lebanon aimed at securing the release of its soldiers and at permanently disarming Hezbollah, in accordance with a 2004 United Nations resolution that called for the disarming of Hezbollah terrorists but had not yet been implemented. Eventually, Israel's military campaign reached Beirut, Lebanon's capital. Because the Hezbollah fighters hid among Lebanon's civilian population, even dressing as civilians themselves - and because many Lebanese civilians sheltered Hezbollah fighters - many Lebanese civilians died during this offensive.
Throughout Israel's offensive in Lebanon, Hezbollah terrorists launched Katyusha rockets into Israel, some reaching as far as Haifa and even Hadera. The rocket attacks killed and displaced hundreds of Israelis.
Finally, on August 14, 2006, a little over a month after Hezbollah began its war against Israel, a United Nations ceasefire went into effect. Among other things, the ceasefire called for an immediate halt in arms transfers to Hezbollah terrorists, in particular, from Syria and Iran.
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