JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday the fighting in Lebanon would end when the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas were freed, rocket attacks on
Israel were stopped, and the Lebanese army was deployed along the border.
Delivering an impassioned speech to parliament after six days of fighting with Lebanon, Olmert said Israel would have no mercy on militants who attack its cities with rockets, and he pledged to destroy terrorist infrastructure.
"We shall seek out every installation, hit every terrorist helping to attack Israeli citizens, destroy all the terrorist infrastructure, in every place. We shall continue this until Hezbollah does the basic and fair things required of it by every civilized person," he said in his first major address since the fighting in Lebanon began last week.
"Israel will not agree to live in the shadow of the threat of missiles or rockets against its residents."
Israeli officials have said publicly that Israel would not stop fighting until Hezbollah, a Shiite militia that controls much of south Lebanon, is dismantled. But Olmert's comments Monday — seeking the release of the soldiers, the end of Hezbollah attacks on Israel, and the deployment of Lebanese troops in south Lebanon — seemed to be a softening of that position.
In the past six days, 24 Israelis, half of them civilians, were killed in the fighting with Lebanon, while nearly 200 Lebanese, many of them civilians, were killed on the other side. The fighting began when Hezbollah kidnapped the soldiers in a cross-border raid. Since then, Israel has pounded Lebanon with airstrikes and Hezbollah has fired barrages of rockets and missiles into Israeli towns and cities.
"We are not looking for war or direct conflict, but if necessary we will not be frightened by it," Olmert said.
Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon on Monday destroyed at least one long-range Iranian missile capable of hitting Tel Aviv, military officials said.
Israeli aircraft targeted a truck carrying the weapons before they could be launched, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of military regulations. The force of the blast sent at least one missile flying into the air, but it fell nearby.
During nearly a week of fighting, Hezbollah militants have fired missiles up to 25 miles into Israel. But officials have raised concerns the guerrilla group could strike Tel Aviv, about 80 miles south of the border with Lebanon.
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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has laid out what must happen to put this violence to rest. These terrorists have continued to attack Israel and her people with constant rocket attacks, forcing people into there bomb-shelters and forcing Israel to attack back. There are those among the bloggers who believe that Israel doesn’t matter, and that we should not defend her at all. They also are the ones who have preached that this is all Israelis fault, because of her occupation of Arab lands. There is no more simple truth than this; the Muslim world will never stop as long as Jerusalem is in Jewish control and the state of Israel exists. The holy land means much to Americans and we cannot see it under the control of these savages who would do harm to our holy places, and decapitate those who do not submit to there rule. If need be I will fully support any American intervention on the behalf of Israel, we cannot continue to let them fight alone, we are fighting the same forces of evil in Iraq that our good friends are now. This is our enemy and we must be prepared, if we do not stand and fight these savages of Islam will behead us all!