IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi held a press conference Tuesday in which he spoke about Operation Cast Lead for the first time since it began. Ashkenazi made a relatively brief statement and refused to take questions.
"I would like to express my appreciation to all the military and intelligence branches, to the Shin Bet; to the Southern Command, which is running the campaign, to the Israel Air Force, which is carrying out a substantial portion of the operation; to the Home Front Command, for supporting the civilian population and to the entire IDF," he said.
"We are sure to face some difficult moments, but I'm sure we will overcome them. Israel Defense Forces soldiers are currently in the midst of military operations on the ground, in the air and in sea and I am pleased with the way our reserve forces have responded to our call."
Joining Ashkenazi in the press conference was President Shimon Peres, who too made a brief statement to the press: "My impressions are of meticulous planning and execution. I can't remember such a thing in the history of Israel, such cooperation between all the armed forces.
"As someone who remembers every war in Israel's history, from the War of Independence and on, I would like to say that this operation is much tougher than everyone thinks. Fighting terrorists is, to some extent, much harder than fighting armies," concluded Peres.