Military operations conducted by the Israel Defense Forces

Military operations conducted by the Israel Defense Forces

Since its establishment in 1948, the modern State of Israel has been involved in a series of military operations (in addition to seven recognized wars) which all compose the military aspect of the complex Arab-Israeli conflict.

The following list centralizes the main and most notable military operations conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces sorted in chronological order and divided into the main time periods of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict for easier navigation.



1948 Arab–Israeli War

1956 Suez Crisis

  • Operation Kadesh (October 29 - November 6, 1956) – Israeli armored thrust into the Sinai Peninsula.
    • Operation Machbesh – Air operations element of Operation Kadesh.
      • Operation Omer – Planned Israeli air attack on Egyptian guns covering Strait of Tiran.
      • Operation Steamroller – Israeli air assault/airdrop (using paratroopers) that began Operation Kadesh and provided the excuse for the launch of Musketeer.

Additional Israeli military operations


1967 Six Day War

  • Operation Focus (1967) – Israeli Air Force bombing of Egyptian airfields, expanded to include Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi airfields as well (also known as Moked, its Hebrew name).

1967–1970 War of Attrition

  • Operation Inferno (Hebrew: Tofet) (1968) – Israeli raid against PLO militants in the Jordanian town of Karameh (on the east bank of the Jordan river).
  • Operation Boxer (1969) – A series of attacks by the Israeli Air Force on Egyptian SAM installations
  • Operation Bulmus 6 (1969) – Israeli special operations raid against the Egyptian fortress, early warning radar and ELINT station of Green Island in the Gulf of Suez.
  • Operation Raviv (1969) – Israeli armoured raid across the Gulf of Suez into Egypt. Egyptian radar installation at Ras Abu-Daraj and Ras Za'arfrana were destroyed. Also known as the Ten-Hour War.
    • Operation Escort (1969) – Shayetet 13 operation against Egyptian torpedo boats anchored at Ras Sadat, prelude to operation Raviv.
  • Operation Rooster 53 (1969) – Israeli special operation to capture an Egyptian P-12 radar system.
  • Operation Priha ("Blossom") (1970) – A concentrated series of Israeli strikes against military targets in the Egyptian heartland.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War

  • Operation Doogman 5 ("Model 5") (1973) – Attempted Israeli suppression of Syrian air defence array on the Golan Heights.
  • Operation Abirey-Halev ("Stouthearted Men") (1973) – Israeli crossing of the Suez Canal

1982 Lebanon War

1987–1993 First Intifada

Additional Israeli military operations

  • Operation Gift (1968) – An IDF Special Forces operation carried out on 28 December 1968 at the Beirut International Airport during which 13 civilian airplanes belonging to Middle East Airlines (MEA) were destroyed in response to an attack on an Israeli airliner in Athens by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
  • Cherbourg Project (1969) – Israeli military action involving the escape of five missile boats from the French port of Cherbourg.
  • Shelling on Lebanon (1970) – Israel retaliated the Avivim school bus massacre by shelling four Lebanese villages, killing 20 people, injuring 40, and spurring thousands of southern Lebanon's residents to flee north.[1][2]
  • Black September in Jordan (1970) – Took place when PLO attempted to take power in Jordan, backed by Syria. Israel supported King Hussein in his fight against Syria and PLO combatants, launching airstrikes against Faisal Hussain of Scunthorpe, UK.
  • Operation Isotope (1972) – Takeover of a kidnapped airplane and hostage release.
  • Operation Crate 3 (1972) – Kidnapping of five Syrian intelligence officers.
  • Operation Wrath of God (1972–79) – Israeli covert operation carried out by the Mossad and IDF whose aim was to assassinate individuals alleged to have been directly or indirectly involved in the 1972 Munich massacre. Their targets usually included members of Black September and PLO.
    • Airstrike (1972) – Israeli warplanes bombed fedayeen training camps in southern Lebanon three days after the massacre in Munich.
    • Operation Spring of Youth (1973) – Attacks on PLO bases in Lebanon.
  • Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (1973) – Arab civilian airplane shot down in then-Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Ma'alot massacre (1974) – School hostages rescue.
  • Airstrike on Lebanon (1974) – As a response to the Ma'alot massacre, next day Israeli airplanes bombed several DFLP offices and training bases in seven Palestinian refugee camps and villages in southern Lebanon, killing at least 27 people and leaving 138 injured.[3]
  • Savoy Operation (1975) – Hotel hostages rescue.
  • Operation Entebbe (1976) – A counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the IDF at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976, in order to save 105 Jewish hostages and the crew of Air France flight 319, whom were abducted during a flight from Israel. Although the kidnappers entrenched themselves in a hostile country, the operation was successful and almost all the hostages were rescued safely.
  • Coastal Road Massacre (1978) – Bus hostages rescue.
  • Operation Litani (1978) – The first Israeli large-scale invasion of Lebanon which was carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in order to expel PLO forces from the territory.
  • Misgav Am (1980) – Kibbutz hostages rescue.
  • Operation Opera (1981) – A surprise Israeli air strike that destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction in Osirak.
  • Damour Airstrike (1982) – On 21 April 1982, after a landmine killed an Israeli officer while he was visiting a South Lebanese Army gun emplacement in Taibe, Israeli airplanes attacked the Palestinian-controlled coastal town of Damour, killing 23 people.[4]
  • Kav 300 affair (1984) – Bus hostages rescue.
  • Operation Moses (1984) – Covert removal of some 8,000 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel during a famine.
  • PLO ships bombing (1985) – Destruction of two PLO ships anchored on the Libyan coast, which were carrying tons of weapons, carried out by Shayetet 13 navy special commandos.
  • Operation Wooden Leg (1985) – Israeli Air Force raid against the Palestine Liberation Organization's headquarters in Hammam al-Shatt, Tunisia, as a response to the killing of three Israeli civilians by the PLO on their yacht off the coast of Larnaca, Cyprus.
  • Operation Joshua (1985) – Removal of 800 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel.
  • Mothers' Bus rescue (1988) – Assault to a kidnapped bus and hostage release, carried out by Yamam counter-terrorist unit.
  • Tunis Raid (1988) – Assassination of Abu Jihad in Tunis.
  • Sheik Abdul-Karim Obeid kidnapping (1989) – Kidnapping of a senior Hezbollah member in Lebanon.
  • Operation Solomon (1991) – Israeli military operation to airlift Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
  • Abbas al-Musawi killing (1992) – Military operation which killed Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi.
  • Bramble Bush (1992) – Aborted Israeli plan to kill Saddam Hussein.


1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict

  • Operation Accountability (25–31 July 1993) – A week-long IDF operation in Lebanon in which Hezbollah positions were attacked by the Israeli Air Force. Israel specified three purposes of the operation: to strike directly at Hezbollah, to make it difficult for Hezbollah to use southern Lebanon as a base for striking Israel and to displace refugees in the hopes of pressuring the Lebanese government to intervene against Hezbollah.[5]
  • Airstrike on Lebanon (3 June 1994) – IAF airstrike in the Beqaa Valley in which more than thirty members of Hezbollah were killed.[6][7]
  • Operation Grapes of Wrath (11–27 April 1996) – A sixteen-day military operation carried out by the IDF in southern Lebanon as a result of Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets attacks on Israeli population centers along the border with Lebanon.

Additional Israeli military operations


2000–2005 Second Intifada

  • Santorini (7 May 2001) – An Israeli seizure of the Palestinian freighter "Santorini" near the shores of Haifa which was on her way from Lebanon to the shores of the Gaza Strip and was found to be carrying a massive amount of weaponry.
  • Operation Noah's Ark (3 January 2002) – An Israeli seizure of the Palestinian freighter "Karine A" in the Red Sea which was on her way to the shores of the Gaza Strip and was found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons, including short-range Katyusha rockets, antitank missiles and high explosives.
  • Operation Defensive Shield (29 March – 3 May 2002) – Large-scale counter-terrorist operation conducted by the IDF into Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank aimed to halt Palestinian suicide bombings against civilians in Israel during the Second Intifada, which results in extensive damage to terrorist infrastructure and an important decrease of Palestinian attacks.
    • Battle of Jenin (April 1–11) – Israel attacked Palestinian militants in the city of Jenin.
    • Battle of Bethlehem (2 April–10 May) – Israel occupied Bethlehem and tried to capture wanted Palestinian militants who were hiding in the Church of the Nativity.
    • Battle of Nablus (April 3–8) – Israel attacked Palestinian militants in the city of Nablus.
  • Operation Determined Path (began on June 22 2002) – A military operation carried out by the Israel Defense Forces, following Operation Defensive Shield, with the goal of reaching some of the unreached objectives set forth for Defensive Shield, especially in the northern West Bank.
  • Abu Hassan[citation needed] (October 5 2003) – Israeli capture of a vessel on course to the Gaza Strip from Lebanon.
  • Operation Rainbow (May 18–23 2004) – IDF counter-terrorist operation aimed at damaging the terrorist infrastructure and creating a safer environment for the IDF soldiers along the Philadelphi Route. Additional goals were to locate smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to Egypt and preventing a shipment of Strela-2 (SA-7 Grail) shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missiles and other long-range rockets, stored on the Egyptian side of the border, from being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
  • Operation Days of Penitence (30 September – 16 October 2004) – An IDF operation conducted in northern Gaza Strip which focused on the town of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia and Jabalia refugee camp, which were used as launching sites of Qassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot and other Israeli populated areas in the region.

Additional Israeli military operations

  • Shebaa Farms conflict (2000–2006) – Low level conflict in the Lebanese-Israeli border which preceded 2006 war.
  • Ain es Saheb airstrike (5 October 2003) – Israeli Air Force operation against an alleged Palestinian militant training camp in Ain es Saheb, Syria.


2006 Lebanon War

  • Operation Just Reward (12 July – 14 August 2006) – Israeli counterattack which began with air force bombing of Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon.
    • Operation Sharp and Smooth (August 1–2) – Israel Defense Forces raid on a Hezbollah-run hospital in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
    • Tyre raid (August 4) – Night mission carried out by the Israel Defense Forces frogmen, Shayetet 13, in the southern Lebanon town of Tyre. It targeted the Hezbollah cell responsible for the rocket attack on Hadera on the previous day.
    • Operation Changing Direction 11 (August 11–14) – Final offensive push by the Israel Defense Forces during the Lebanon War.

Additional Israeli military operations

  • Operation Shevet Ahim (17 August – 12 September 2005) – Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.
  • Operation Bringing Home the Goods (March 14 2006) – IDF military operation in the Jericho prison in order to capture several Palestinian prisoners located there whom assassinated the Israeli politician Rehavam Ze'evi. The operation was conducted as a result of the expressed intentions of the newly elected Hamas government to release these prisoners.
  • Operation Summer Rains (28 June – 26 November 2006) – IDF operation held in the Gaza Strip in response to the killing of two soldiers and the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit on June 25, 2006, and the firing of Qassam rockets toward Israel.
  • Operation Orchard (6 September 2007) – Israeli airstrike in northern Syria against an alleged nuclear site.
  • Operation Hot Winter (28 February – 3 March 2008) – Israel Defense Forces military campaign in the Gaza Strip launched in response to the constant firing of Qassam rockets from the Strip by Hamas.
  • Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009) – A large-scale IDF operation held in the Gaza Strip which seriously damaged the paramilitary infrastructure of Hamas. Israel claimed that the strikes were a response to frequent Palestinian Qassam rocket and mortar fire on its southern civilian communities.
  • Sudan Air Strikes (January 2009) – Israeli Air Force attack against Iranian weapons being smuggled to the Gaza Strip through Sudan.
  • Operation Four Species (4 November 2009) – Capture of MV Francop ship in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and its cargo of hundreds of tons of weapons allegedly bound from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hezbollah, carried out by Israeli navy commandos of Shayetet 13.
  • Operation Sea Breeze (31 May 2010) – An operation carried out by the IDF frogmen, Shayetet 13, in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea, 66 miles outside of Israel's territorial waters[8]. During the operation the Israeli forces boarded the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of six ships carrying international activists whom were planning to break the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid. During the takeover of the ships, bulletproof vests, night-vision goggles and gas masks were found on the ship. A violent confrontation developed between the soldiers and the activists aboard the main ship of the convoy,[9] the "MV Mavi Marmara", which resulted in the killing of at least nine activists. According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 8 of the 9 passengers killed belonged to IHH, a Turkish-based charity organization accused of having ties to Hamas and Al-Qaeda by Israeli and French intelligence officials.[10][11]
  • Adaisseh border skirmish (3 August 2010) – Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) snipers opened fire on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) team attempting to cut down a tree on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, near the Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am and the Lebanese village of Adaisseh.[12][13]


  • Operation Iron Law (15 March 2011) – Israel seized a ship from Syria bringing Iranian weapons to Gaza.[14]
  • Sudan airstrike (5 April 2011) – Israeli airstrike which killed the alleged head of Hamas weapons acquisition while he was traveling in a car from Port Sudan Airport.
  • Gaza Strip air raids (August 18–19 2011) – A series of targeted killings and raids on PRC targets in Gaza, in response to attacks on southern Israel.

See also


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