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Operation Autumn Clouds
Part of The Second Intifada
Date October 31, – November 7, 2006 [2]
Location Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Result Tactical Israeli victory. Israeli forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip
Belligerents
 Israel (Israel Defense Forces and Israeli Security Forces) Hamas flag2.png Hamas
Popular Resistance Committees,
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades,
Jaish al-Islam
Commanders
Israel Dan Halutz (Chief of Staff)
Israel Yoav Galant (Regional)
Flag of Hamas.svg Khaled Mashal (Leader of Hamas[1])
Flag of Hamas.svg Mohammed Deif (Leader of Hamas' military wing)
Casualties and losses
1 killed[3]
3 civilians wounded
53 killed (38 militants, 15 civilians)
200 wounded [4]

Operation Autumn Clouds (Hebrew: מבצע ענני סתיו‎, Mivtza Ananei Stav) is an Israeli military operation that began on 1 November 2006 when the Israeli Defense Forces entered the Gaza Strip triggering sporadic fighting near Beit Hanoun. The operation is the largest military endeavor undertaken by the Israeli military since Operation Summer Rains.[2]The operation was launched to stop Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel.

On 5 November Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the operation would continue until Palestinian rocket attacks significantly decreased. He did not give a timetable for the withdrawal.[3]

Earlier November 5 four Qassam rockets fired from northern Gaza struck Sderot, causing one person to go into shock, and shattering hopes of a quick end to the widening IDF Gaza operation.[4]

Palestinian government officials said on 7 November that IDF troops were beginning to withdraw, thus ending the operation. Fifty-three Palestinians, including 16 civilians, and an IDF soldier, were killed since October 31.[5]

Contents

Timeline

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November 1 Raid

On November 1, 2006, in the largest military operation by Israel since Operation Summer Rains, six Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed and 35 people were wounded during a raid on Beit Hanoun by the Israeli military. The raid involved three air strikes, sixty tanks backed by helicopter gunships. The AFP news agency reported that three houses were razed by Israeli bulldozers and a dozen homes were hit by tank shells. The raid was the beginning of Operation Autumn Clouds by the Israeli Military. Both the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, have described the raid as a massacre.[6]

November 3 Shootings

On November 3, 2006 one Palestinian woman was killed and ten were reported wounded by Israeli military fire.[7][8] The women had gathered outside a mosque in Beit Hanoun after an appeal by the local radio for women to rescue Palestinian militants trapped inside a mosque by disguising the militants as women.[9] The Israeli military claimed that their soldiers had spotted two Palestinian militants dressed in women's clothes hiding within the crowd of women, and that the militants were using the women as human shields.[10][11]

The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Ismail Haniyeh, praised the women whom he said "...led the protest to break the siege of Beit Hanoun".[7]

November 7 Withdrawal

Palestinian government officials said on 7 November that IDF troops were beginning to withdraw, thus ending the operation. Fifty-three Palestinians, including 16 civilians, and an IDF soldier, were killed since October 31.[5]

November 8 Shelling

Several civilian houses in Beit Hanoun were struck by shells, fired by the Israeli Defense Force. At least 19 Palestinian civilians were killed and 40 wounded.

One day later Assistant Secretary-General Angela Kane of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs briefed the U.N. Security Council on the shelling. She "urged both sides in the conflict to 'return to dialogue'".[12] A resolution proposed by Qatar as condemnation of the shelling was brought before the Security Council and was vetoed by the United States, with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton calling the proposed resolution 'one-sided' and 'politically motivated'. Following this rebuff, a watered-down and non-binding resolution was passed by the U.N. General Assembly on 17 November 2006 expressing the assembly's 'distress' at the shelling and calling for a fact-finding mission to be sent to Gaza. The resolution was passed by a majority including the European Union member states. Among the several objectors were the United States and Israel.[13]

November 16

On November 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants firing from Beit Hanoun launched a Qassam rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot, killing one and injuring one other. Israel's Prime Minister released a statement saying: "This is precisely the type of murderous attacks that we are trying to prevent. Israel will take any means necessary in protecting our citizens." [5]

Aftermath

Numerous buildings in Beit Hanoun bore the scars of tank shells and one mosque was left with only its minaret standing, AFP reported. Tens of thousands of residents had been ordered to stay indoors, leading to shortages of electricity and water. [6]

One day after the Israeli retreat, 19 Palestinian civilians were killed by an Israeli artillery shelling of a family house in Beit Hanoun.

See also

References


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