Olmert vows to deter terror groups

Updated: 2008-03-09 09:37

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Saturday that the country would achieve deterrence against terror groups as it had done against Lebanese Hezbollah.

Olmert made the remarks while speaking on the occasion of the International Women's Day in a Tel Aviv suburb, his first public speech after the deadly shooting attack on a yeshiva in Jerusalem on Thursday night, local daily Ha'aretz reported on its website.

"As we achieved deterrence against Arab states and against Hezbollah, which for a year and a half has not dared to shoot even one missile, we will achieve deterrence against terrorist organizations," Olmert was quoted as saying.

He said that "there are those who are trying to discourage us from the possibility of peace. But we have been through worse times than these."

Gunmen infiltrated into the religious school named Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and opened fire indiscriminately at nightfall Thursday, leaving eight Israelis dead.

No group or person has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, though an organization calling itself "Galilee Freedom Battalions -- the Martyears of Imad Mughniyeh" said it is responsible for the attack, according to Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

Media reports also said on Friday that Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the attack, but it was denied later by senior Hamas figures.  

In the wake of the attack, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said that "these terrorists are trying to destroy the chances of peace, but we certainly will continue the peace talks."

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