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Senior IDF officier ; "Nasrallah Must Die" Israel continues to disrupt arms flow to Hezbollah terrorists from Syria

August 20, 2006

A portrait of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is pockmarked with bullet and shrapnel holes in Bint Jbail.
Photo: AP

"[Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah] must die," a senior IDF officer told The New York Times on Friday in an interview published on Sunday. There was no elaboration as to how that goal will be accomplished.

According to the officer, despite the UN ceasefire, the army will also continue to act against the supply of arms transferred from Syria to Lebanon.

With regards to Syrian arms shipments, the officer suggested that it might lead to a renewal of the conflict. "If we will see that Hizbullah is rearming itself and running southern Lebanon, I believe the next round is coming," he said.

The IDF launched a commando raid in eastern Lebanon overnight Saturday to prevent Syrian arms from reaching the terrorist organization. Although successful in their objective, one IDF officer, Lt.-Col. Imanuel Moreno, was killed in the operation.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the IDF operation a "violation of the UN ceasefire."

Yet despite this reaction, the officer believes that the international community will view these operations as justified. Hizbullah is "Iran's western front," he said. "The world understands that we are helping to stop the influence of Iran."

The conduct of the month-long conflict is coming under increased criticism from politicians and the Israeli public alike. Responding to this, the officer said, "We didn't want to do any ground assault and we thought we could create the conditions for a cease-fire without [such an operation.]"

When it became clear that a limited strategy was not working, the army then asked the government for permission to conduct a wider 5-day-long ground operation. "The government asked us to wait because of the negotiations, and we waited Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday," the officer said. As a result, the IDF was left only two days to implement their operation before the ceasefire took affect.

Criticism about military shortcomings aside, the officer still considers the conflict an Israeli victory. "We believe it was important to stop the war with Hizbullah understanding that we can beat them anywhere, any time, and we did that," he said. "I believe it will change the situation for a long time."

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