Saturday, July 22, 2006

Ground operations in Lebanon

From Ynet News, 21/7/06, by Hanan Greenberg ...

.... IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said Friday that the IDF was likely to launch ground operations in Lebanon. “We will fight terrorism anywhere it is, and we will also carry out limited ground operations,” Halutz said during a press briefing in Tel Aviv Friday. He noted that a significant amount of Hizbullah terror infrastructure was damaged, and close to 100 Hizbullah operatives were killed – “on every rank and level.”

Despite the extensive Air Force operations, the air force alone cannot complete all of the operations demanded to defeat Hizbullah, the army chief hinted. “A jet cannot plant a flag,” Halutz said. “Sometimes a soldier has to look the enemy in the eye and fight him.”

“This conflict was forced upon us – we didn’t choose it. Terror activity is what brought us there. We withdrew from Gaza and Lebanon not planning to go back. But this cannot be used against us. We will fight terrorism wherever it is. Because if we don’t fight it, it will fight us. If we don’t reach it first, it will reach us.”

According to Halutz, “The restraint we showed during the years was interpreted by the enemy as weakness. I think that in this matter, they made a grave mistake – in assuming that we would persevere in abstention and restraint. Now we must bite our lip and continue the mission to restore our safety...."

...Halutz detailed how Hizbullah built up its infrastructure over the years, and presented a short film illustrating how terrorists use religious institutions to store weapons. “Hizbullah, which gained control in Lebanon, planned for long-term war. It built infrastructure, armed itself and trained solely to attack the State of Israel and had no other purpose whatsoever. The battle against it costs a high price. The fact that they won’t publish the number of their operatives killed or their names, the fact they feed lies to the press, have no bearing on the reality.

“The IDF damaged and will continue to damage terror infrastructure in the heart of Beirut and in the Lebanon valley, in the south as well as in central Lebanon. We are operating against rocket infrastructure, against Hizbullah fighters everywhere and always. Many launchers were hit and infrastructure was damaged. Close to 100 Hizbullah terrorists from all levels and ranks were killed. We won’t publish the names we know. We will leave it to them to publish the names.”

The IDF was boosting troop presence along the northern border over the weekend. In addition to the Galilee Division deployed there, thousands more soldiers, including reservists, were arriving in the north.

On Friday morning the army also called up additional reserves soldiers to reinforce positions across the country and free up the active-duty forces to be sent up north.

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