Halutz defends IDF response in Lebanon

Thousands of leaflets condemning Hizbullah dropped over Beirut Wednesday.

f-16 88 (photo credit: )
f-16 88
(photo credit: )
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz warned that additional Hizbullah attempts to abduct soldiers are inevitable, while speaking to reporters at the Tel Hashomer induction center on Wednesday. While Israel has no intention of violating the existing status quo, it is up to the Lebanese government >a href="http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1132475604303&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull"TARGET="_blank">to bear the responsibility, Halutz said. He lashed out at senior IDF officers who criticized the army's response to Monday's attack, claiming it was too tepid. "If anyone wants to criticize, they should come straight to me, my phone line is open," he said. He noted that Israel had received a request from the Lebanese government asking to return the bodies of the Hizbullah gunmen killed in Monday's attack. Halutz also revealed to reporters that the army had postponed recruiting 137 youths who are under investigation for their anti-disengagement activities, until the end of legal procedures against them. Halutz declared that anyone convicted of a violent crime would be barred from military service. Just hours earlier, air force jets flew over Lebanon dropping thousands of flyers written in Arabic over Beirut suburbs, warning residents that Hizbullah activities will only bring them destruction and turmoil. Resorting to psychological warfare in the ongoing battle against Hizbullah, the flyers were dropped less than two days after air force planes shelled Hizbullah positions in response to the well coordinated but unsuccessful attempt to abduct IDF soldiers in Ghajar and Mount Dov on Monday. Dubbed "Who is Lebanon's Protector," the flyer read: "Who is lying to you? Who is sending your sons into battle unprepared? Who wants to return to turmoil and destruction? Who is a tool in the hands of Syrian and Iranian masters? Hizbullah is harming Lebanon! " The flyer ended with: "The State of Israel will continue defending its citizens and sovereignty," and was signed "The State of Israel." In the past the army resorted to similar strategy in the Gaza Strip, to warn residents of the consequences they would suffer if Hamas continued to launch attacks unhampered.