After a brief military operation that lasted for 6 days, Israeli troops withdrew from northern Gaza strip on Tuesday, leaving a few soldiers inside the Gaza strip to prevent militants from firing rockets in to Israel. More than 60 Palestinians, most of them militants, were killed during this operation, which aimed at stopping Palestinian militants from firing ‘Qassams’ (crude rockets with little explosive power, rarely killing people) in to Israel. These rockets remain as a daily menace to tens of thousands of Israeli’s living along the Gaza border, in spite of the fact that the frequency of rocket fire has come down in recent months. The Israeli defense minister said that military operations would continue until the rocket attacks end.

The operation named ‘Autumn Clouds’ by the military resulted in the seizure of large amounts of weaponry, including Qassam launchers, RPG’s (rocket-propelled grenades), landmines, assault rifles and other ammunition. Palestinian leaders have called this military operation by Israel as a ‘massacre’ and Palestinian health officials put the death toll of this operation on their side at 62, of which one-third were civilians. One Israeli soldier was killed in this operation and many others were wounded. This operation saw one of the most interesting dramas of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, when a group of unarmed women came in rescue of a few Palestinian militants, holed-up in a building. Two women in the group were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on them, but the militants escaped using this chaotic situation.    

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