PM praises 'successful' Hebron op, Hamas vows revenge

At cabinet meeting, Olmert hails security forces that killed man involved in Dimona attack; Diskin urges decision on house demolitions.

olmert cabinet 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
olmert cabinet 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised security forces on Sunday for the Hebron operation that killed Shihab Na'atsha, a senior Hamas terrorist involved in February's suicide bombing in Dimona. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Olmert said, "Due to the nature of the activity, I won't go into detail, but this was a very successful operation. I send the thanks of the Cabinet and of the Israeli public to the members of the security services and to the Israel Police elite units that assisted." Hamas vowed to avenge Na'atsha's death, threatening retaliation "at the time and place we choose." In a statement released by the group, it said the response would be both "swift and painful." After being praised by the prime minister for Sunday morning's operation, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin referred to the recent terror attacks in the capital perpetrated by east Jerusalem residents. During a security briefing to the cabinet, Diskin said that the increasing involvement of east Jerusalem residents in terror attacks was worrying and that a deterrence was needed. He urged the cabinet to speed up its decision on whether to demolish terrorists' east Jerusalem homes. Also at the meeting, Olmert took a jab at Barak following the defense minister's criticism over the weekend of Olmert's attack on law enforcement authorities. When newly-appointed Immigrant Absorption Minister Eli Aflalo joined the meeting, the other ministers moved up to make space for him. The reshuffle moved Barak along a seat and meant he was no longer sitting directly opposite the prime minister. "What happened, I am used to the defense minister looking me in the eyes," Olmert said. Barak responded that he was now looking at Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, two of the candidates for September's Kadima primary and, therefore, two of the contenders to replace Olmert as prime minister. "From the distance you will probably be from them, it will be difficult for you to see them at all," Olmert then quipped, referring to Labor's poor showing in the polls and Barak's apparently slim chances of becoming prime minister.