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Israeli Army Chief Tenders Resignation
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Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dan Halutz submitted his resignation on Tuesday night, an IDF spokeswoman told Xinhua early Wednesday.

The spokeswoman said that Halutz's resignation still needs to be approved by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. She did not give further details.

According to the Ha'aretz website, Halutz on Tuesday night sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announcing his resignation.

In the letter, Halutz expressed his concern over the lack of back-up IDF commanders were given by the government, the report said.

"It is the nature of people not to be overjoyed serving in a system that is unappreciated and unprotected by those it represents," Halutz wrote.

"We must promise never to reach a situation in which people of quality would hesitate to tie their fate and future with the IDF. Neither good education nor a strong economy would help us then, and there is a danger that the threats the state of Israel faces will become more substantial."

"I feel great pride having completed (the goals) I've set for myself and fulfilled my obligations."

"In order to lead and, we must fulfill our responsibilities. Having accomplished my current mission, I hereby announce my intention to end my position as IDF Chief of Staff immediately."

The report said that Olmert expressed regret over Halutz's resignation.

Halutz has been facing criticism over the IDF's performance during last summer's 34-day Israel-Hezbollah conflict, after which the Israeli government appointed a committee to investigate the shortcoming of both the political echelon and the army's management of the war.

Two weeks ago, Halutz said he would resign if the committee implicated him as responsible for the mishandling of the war.

"If the committee hands down an unambiguous sentence, it would obligate me (to resign)," Halutz was quoted as saying.

The resignation, however, came before the committee releases its conclusions.

But Senior Israeli officers were reported to have testified to the committee that they consider Halutz responsible for failures of the war.

They told the committee that they believe the army failed to prepare its units as required and without clear goals.

Israel launched a full-scale attack on Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla after they captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a cross-border raid on July 12.

But the month-long offensive ended without defeating Hezbollah and bringing the two captured soldiers home.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2007)

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