'Missile strike on TA still real threat'

Halutz warns Nasrallah that he should "choose his words more carefully."

halutz looks tough 298.8 (photo credit: IDF [file])
halutz looks tough 298.8
(photo credit: IDF [file])
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz said on Monday that a Hizbullah missile attack on Tel Aviv still remained a real threat. Halutz said that the destruction of the Iranian long-range Zelzal missile last week proved that Hizbullah possessed this capability, adding, "what we don't have answers for are when and how the rocket could be fired." Halutz estimated that in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbail, where the IDF are currently operating, there were 500 terrorists remaining alongside residents who had not evacuated the area in spite of repeated warnings from the IDF. There were 20,000 people in the town that Halutz called a "symbol of Hizbullah," before the IDF incursion. Halutz issued a scathing warning to the Hizbullah leader saying, "Nasrallah recently spoke from there and in his next speech, if he returns to the same location, he should choose his words more carefully." "If he (Nasrallah) arrived as the head of a political party, that would be one thing, but if he came as a head of a terror group, we would not accept that," added Halutz. On Operation Change of Direction, Halutz said that the aim was for the military operation to provide the top echelons with a good starting point before engaging in the diplomatic process. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinski said that the ability Hizbullah was demonstrating in the current conflict had not surprised the IDF. "It is the same Hizbullah with different weaponry, that has now been forced into a defensive war. We are the attackers, and in some ways this gives us an advantage," said Kaplinski. He stressed that Hizbullah had not exposed all its means of warfare and still had "a few surprises," as had the IDF. Kaplinski said that Operation Change of Direction would last a few more weeks, adding that Hizbullah was sustaining long-lasting damage to its military capability and was being exposed as nothing more than a terrorist movement. The deputy chief of staff said that he did not expect there to be an additional drafting of reservist soldiers.