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Sunday, August 13, 2006

IDF soldiers to silence guns Monday morning

The IDF is preparing for a new reality on the northern border and in southern Lebanon . A senior IDF officer said that at 7 a.m. Monday IDF soldiers will silence their guns, and the naval and land blockade on Lebanon will end.

The IDF will work only to defend the safety of soldiers, and any attempt to harm them will be met with fire through all available means.

The IDF believes that on Monday morning rocket fire at Israel will cease. With that, friction between Hizbullah and the IDF in southern Lebanon will continue.

Land Forces Commander Major General Benny Gantz said Monday evening in a press conference: "We are ready to respect the ceasefire and we hope the other side respects it. The IDF will respect the ceasefire, but will defend its forces, and if fire is renewed, it will act."

"The coming days are days of uncertainty, said Gantz. "They could include operations and fire. But it's important to stress: The ceasefire does not mean the end of IDF operations in Lebanon."

'Painful price'

Summing up 33 days of fighting, Gantz said: "Unfortunately, in war there is a painful price and casualties. We lost fighters, yesterday we lost an aircraft, but there are many accomplishments – all thanks to the fighters. In every point where there was engagement – the IDF came out on top. There were wonderful operations from the perspective of combining forces and special units. The reserves showed up and obtained honorable aims, and the home front displayed determination."

Regarding Security Council Resolution 1701, Gantz said: "The decision obligates the Lebanese government to realize its responsibility through the Lebanese army and a UNIFIL force which is widened in its scope and authority. They are supposed to deploy in south Lebanon and to ensure that the situation we saw before, in which Hizbullah acted in the place freely, won't repeat itself. In accordance with this pace of development and with the considerations of the IDF, we will prepare the lines in line with operation needs and the development of the agreement's realization."

Gantz said he believed the attack maneuver of the past two days significantly contributed to reaching the agreement, and hoped that it would contribute to its moderation. "There are more than a few obtainments, including along the strategic front – against long-rang and medium-range rockets," he said.

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