Dichter: Nasrallah like Bin Laden
Chief of staff briefs ministers on recent developments in north. Peretz: Populations that give cover for terror and which cooperate must take into account that they are in harm's way. Internal Security minister says, 'IDF should be instructed to operate without time limit'
"Don't stand over us with a stopwatch," Halutz said during the government's weekly meeting, which examined the most recent developments on the northern border.
The chief of staff and security chiefs – the head of the Shin Bet and the Mossad – briefed ministers on developments, including the deadly attack on Haifa.
During his briefing, Halutz detailed the IDF's operational activities against hundreds of targets attacked in recent days. He said that Hizbullah's ability to fire al-Fajr and Katyusha rockets at this stage has not yet been finally destroyed, and warned that more strikes were expected on the home front. He said patience was needed for the operation the IDF was seeking to carry out.
'Hizbullah taking advantage of civilians'
During the late morning hours the IDF began telling residents of southern Lebanon that they should leave their homes, due to a possible attack in the area.
Until now the IDF has refrained from operating in populated areas in southern Lebanon, except communities in which Hizbullah weapons are being held, such as Beirut's southern neighborhoods.
Military sources said Hizbullah was continuing to operate from populated areas and therefore there would be no option but to act against it in the areas.
During the government meeting Defense Minister Amir Peretz told residents of the Dahiya quarter in southern Beirut that their situation has changed. "Hizbullah is taking advantage of civilians as a cover for its terror operations, and populations that give cover for terror and which cooperate must take into account that they are in harm's way," Peretz said.
'Stamina of home front is the key'
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said during a government meeting that "Hassan Nasrallah is the equivalent of (al-Qaeda deputy) Ayman al-Zawahiri and the equivalent of Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad."
Dichter demanded the silencing of rockets from the northern border to the Litani river. "The IDF should be instructed to operate without a time limit and without a limit of means to apply heavy pressure on the residents of southern Lebanon to evacuate northwards, thereby applying pressure on the center of the Lebanese government."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni addressed a speech by Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora which called for a ceasefire. "The speech had a positive bent, but contained little substance for implementation."
Livni said that there is an understanding in the international community regarding Israel's motivations for operation, and that statements in the community regarding proportional use of force derive from conventions of international law.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz visited the train depot hit by the rocket, where he said: "In this operation we are carrying out against Hizbullah, the stamina of the home front is the key to strike and mortally wound them. The IDF needs time and must be given all the time so that it can complete the operation. The incident today in the north is certainly an escalation on the part of Hizbullah. This does not appear to me to be a Katyusha. In recent years the Syrians transferred arms to Hizbullah and these are the arms used in this attack."