Operation Autumn Clouds (2006)

Operation Autumn Clouds (2006)
Operation Autumn Clouds
Part of the 2006 Israel–Gaza conflict
Date October 31, – November 7, 2006 [1]
Location Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip
Result Tactical Israeli victory; Israeli forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip
 Israel (IDF and ISF) Flag of Hamas.svg Hamas
Palestinian territories Fatah (Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades)
Army of Islam
Commanders and leaders
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[2]
3 civilians wounded
38 militants killed
15 civilians killed
200 wounded[3]

Operation Autumn Clouds (Hebrew: מבצע ענני סתיו‎, Mivtza 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.[4]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.[5]



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." [2]


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

  • Rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel
  • Israeli casualties of war


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