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Following a security consultation with Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday afternoon, "We don't need to use threat, we need to take action. From this moment on, we demand minimal talk - let action speak for itself."
"We know what we need to do, to complete preparations to begin operating," the defense minister said.
Peretz added that the goal of the operation was to hit the Hizbullah "hard, so it regrets what it began this morning."
Earlier, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reacted to Hizbullah claims that it abducted two IDF soldiers in the north on Wednesday morning during a welcoming ceremony for visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
"These are difficult days for the State of Israel and its citizens," Olmert said.
"There are elements in the north and in the south who are threatening our stability and are trying to test our steadfastness. They will fail, and pay a heavy price for their actions."
Olmert also singled out Syria for sharp criticism.
"Syria has proven lately that it is a state which supports terror. Its government facilitates murderous activities by terrorists both within and without its borders. This will of course require an appropriate response to deal with Syria's actions," he said.
Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara said that Israel was responsible for Hizbullah's operation.
"The occupation has irritated the Palestinian people and the Lebanese. The 'resistance' in southern Lebanon and within the Palestinian people will decide alone what to do and when," he said.
Wednesday morning, Peretz called on Lebanon to immediately bring about the release of the soldiers who Hizbullah claim to have kidnapped Wednesday morning. Peretz said the Lebanese government would be held responsible for the
soldier's fates, and needed to do everything possible to keep him from being harmed.
"The Lebanese government, that allows Hizbullah to operate in its sovereign territory, will be held responsible for the results and the outcome.
"The state of Israel sees itself as free to take all the steps it believes are appropriate."
Likud MK and former foreign minister Silvan Shalom said, "We can't have a situation in Lebanon where there is peace and quiet on one side and our soldiers are living in bunkers on the other. We have to disarm Hizbullah. All the weapons that are being used come through Damascus. Damascus must know that we cannot tolerate this.
"We must act immediately, said Shalom.
According to Channel 2, anti-Hizbullah parliamentarians in Lebanon have already condemned the guerilla group for "dragging Lebanon into a military adventure against Israel."
Defense officials said that Peretz has instructed the IDF to take all the necessary steps to retrieve the kidnapped soldiers.
The IDF vowed to hold the Lebanese accountable for the attacks.
"The IDF holds the Lebanese government responsible for any act of terror launched from Lebanon at Israel," a statement released by the IDF spokesperson read.
"If the suspicion that soldiers have been kidnapped turns out to be true, the IDF will hold the Lebanese government responsible for their fate."
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