PM Olmert speaks with UN Secy.-Gen. Kofi Annan
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this morning (Wednesday), 26 July 2006, spoke with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and expressed his deep regret over the accidental killing of four UNIFIL soldiers in Lebanon. The Prime Minister said that he would instruct the IDF to hold a comprehensive inquiry into the event and would share the results with the UN Secretary-General.

Prime Minister Olmert also expressed his reservations over Secy.-Gen. Annan’s statement yesterday (Tuesday), 25 July 2006, that the Israeli action in Lebanon was deliberate; he added that it was inconceivable that the error that was made would be defined by the UN as an action that seemed deliberate.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke on July 26 in Haifa:

"We send our condolences to the families of the United Nations soldiers. It is a loss of life and we it want to be clear that it was not a deliberate attack, because Israel will never target United Nations forces. It is not part of our policy and it is not part of our values. Unfortunately, when we have to target Hizbullah during a war, these kinds of accidents can happen. So, firstly, we send our condolences. What I expect from Kofi Annan and the United Nations is an understanding is that we are  on the same side, fighting terrorism. We are facing the long arm of Iran in the region, facing a situation in which Hizbullah, a terrorist  organization, also wants to assume a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and on Israeli-Lebanese relations. There is a need for the international community to work together with Israel in order to achieve these goals. I would again like to take this opportunity to send our condolences to the families and to the states that send these soldiers. When sending forces, there is an understanding that unfortunately, during a war, these things can happen.

PM Olmert Speaks With Finnish PM Vanhanen

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this afternoon (Wednesday), 26 July 2006, spoke with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and expressed Israel’s deep regret over the killing of a Finnish UNIFIL soldier yesterday in Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert told Finnish Prime Minister Vanhanen that Israel would hold a comprehensive investigation into the event and that he would update him on its results. The two men also discussed the latest developments in Lebanon; Prime Minister Olmert emphasized that Israel would continue to fight Hizbullah.

IDF Spokesman:

As part of its ongoing fight against the Hizbullah terror organization, the IDF operated yesterday in the area of Al-Khiyam, from which Hizbullah has been launching missile attacks against Israel.

The IDF is directing its operations against Hizbullah only, in order to defend the citizens of Israel.

Following an initial inquiry, it appears that during the operation a UN post was unintentionally hit. The IDF expresses deep regret over the incident and stresses that it would never intentionally target any UN facility or personnel. The IDF is launching a full investigation in close coordination with the UN.