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Israel: Lebanon offensive will continue
Ehud Olmert's office said late Friday that the expanded incursion into Lebanon would continue "for the time being," despite agreeing to a cease-fire resolution drafted by the United Nations Security Council.
Israel will press ahead with its military offfensive in south Lebanon until Israel's Cabinet approves an emerging Mideast cease-fire deal, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said early Saturday.
"The logic would be that even in the framework of this successful outcome, if you hand over to the Lebanese army a cleaner south Lebanon, a south Lebanon where you have Hezbollah removed from the territory, that makes their [the Lebanese] troubles a lot easier," Regev said.
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers said that the IDF is "continuing forward at full power," and that all forces slated to take part in the expanded incursion have already assumed forward positions in the field.
Olmert will ask his cabinet on Sunday to accept the resolution, but will press the military offensive against Hezbollah until then, a political source said.
The source said Olmert, Defence Minister Amir Peretz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni agreed to the resolution presented on Friday following last-minute changes to the text.
"The various key ministers have voiced satisfaction at the amendments made over the last few hours," the source said. "For implementation by Israel, this now requires a cabinet vote. The idea is that the military offensive will continue until then."
On Friday, Olmert issued the order for an expanded ground operation after diplomatic efforts at the UN looked to be faltering.
The draft of the text which arrived from Lebanon on Friday is a significantly altered version of Thursday's draft.
According to the modified document, Lebanon is opposed to a more robust contingent of UNIFIL troops and to granting UNIFIL the authority to enforce the cease-fire.
These points caused more concern to Israel than clause referring to Shaba Farms and the lack of border supervision against weapons smuggling.