Israeli armed forces retreated from Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza
Strip late Monday night, after a six day military operation aimed at
Palestinian rocket launchers that has killed 53 Palestinians. Soldiers
are still positioned in other parts of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli objectives were not entirely achieved as the military was unable to stop 36 homemade Qassam shells from making it into Israeli territory, lightly wounding three people.

An Israeli military spokesman commented, "We withdrew our forces from Beit Hanoun after having completed our mission,” referring the rockets, anti-tank weapons, explosives and other weapons that had been confiscated during the operation. 

The spokesman added, “Nine commandos who were preparing to launch rockets into Israeli territory were attacked by our forces. Dozens of suspects were also arrested for interrogation."

The military issued a statement, emphasizing it will “continue to act with determination in order to destroy terrorist organizations and terrorist infrastructure and in order to prevent and disrupt the launching of rockets at Israel.”

Residents confirmed that the army withdrew to the outskirts of Beit Hanoun, close to the Gaza-Israel border late Monday night and into Tuesday morning. The operation destroyed much of Beit Hanoun's infrastructure and has been described as resembling an earthquake.


According to Ali Uda, a doctor at a hospital in Beit Hanoun, twenty-four tanks had been stationed around the hospital.

In a written plea to the UN Security Council Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for a mutual ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip monitored by UN observers. 

Israel claimed that the offensive was part of the ongoing operation to recover captured soldier Gilad Shalit. For the life of one Israeli soldier, more than 300 Palestinians have been killed since July this summer. Fifty-two Palestinians, including 16 civilians, have been killed and more than 200 have been injured in six days.

Sourced from Al-Jazeera and Haaretz