Operation Autumn Clouds

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Operation "Autumn Clouds"
Part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Date October 31 – November 7, 2006[1]
Location Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Result Tactical Israeli victory
Belligerents
 Israel State of Palestine Fatah
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
  • 1 killed[3]
  • 3 civilians wounded
  • 38 militants killed
  • 15 civilians killed
  • 200 wounded[4]

Operation "Autumn Clouds" (Hebrew: מבצע ענני סתיוMivtza Ananei Stav) is an Israeli military operation that began on 1 November 2006, following numerous rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, 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" in the summer of 2006.[5] The operation was launched to stop Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel.

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.[6]

Timeline[edit]

November 1 raid[edit]

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.[7]

November 3 shootings[edit]

On November 3, 2006 one Palestinian woman was killed and ten were reported wounded by Israeli military fire.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12]

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".[8]

November 7 withdrawal[edit]

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.[6]

November 8 shelling[edit]

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'".[13] 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.[14]

November 16[edit]

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." [2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]