"The fighting in Lebanon has cost the Hizbullah a high price," IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said on Friday evening. "About 100 Hizbullah fighters were killed in IDF operations."
Speaking to reporters about the fighting in the North and in the Gaza Strip, Halutz said that the two facts that "Hizbullah does not publish its dead or damage and has lied to the media are indicative [of its condition]."
Halutz warned Israelis that the success of operations in Lebanon could take time.
"This war is difficult and complex," he said. "The enemy has no restraints, moral or otherwise, and no responsibility for the country it is destroying. The 'protector of Lebanon' is destroying Lebanon."
In outlining the IDF's strategic goal, Halutz said that "Our mission is to return security to Israel's citizens." In order to achieve that, he added, "The IDF will continue to strike at [the Hizbullah]. Our soldiers and commanders have our full backing."
Hinting at a possible large-scale ground incursion into southern Lebanon, Halutz said, "You cannot plant a flag in the ground with an F-16."
According to the chief of staff, "Israel's past restraint has been interpreted by the terrorists as weakness. I think they have made a mistake." He added that "the IDF's recommendation [to the government] was to work to end this perception [of weakness]."