December 24 - Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip ratchet up rocket fire towards Israel after Hamas ended a six-month ceasefire.

December 27 - Israel launches air strikes on Gaza in response killing more than 200 people in Gaza, the highest one-day death toll in 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

December 27 - The United States blames Hamas for breaking the ceasefire and provoking Israeli air strikes.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed concern about the escalating violence and called for immediate restoration of the ceasefire.

"We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there," she said in a statement.