Israeli PM 'will not resign' amid criticism

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Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has defiantly announced that he will not resign despite criticism over last summer's conflict with Hizbullah.

A government inquiry published yesterday was very critical of the handling of the conflict with the Islamic militants, accusing Mr Olmert himself of "severe failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence".

The 34-day war began when Hizbullah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers during a raid across the border last summer.

However the bloody conflict, in which about 1,200 Lebanese people, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died has been internationally criticised due to the amount of non-combatant fatalities and the little impact the conflict had upon the influence of Hizbullah in the country.

Although the report does not call for resignations it is thought it will increase pressure upon Mr Olmert to leave office – pressure he has denied in a televised statement.

"It would not be correct to resign and I have no intention of resigning," the Israeli prime minister told the country in an official statement.

However Mr Olmert insisted that lessons would be taken from the damming report, which focuses upon the first five days of the war.

"Mistakes were made and failures committed by the key decision-makers, most notably myself," he admitted.

"This government made the decisions and this government will deal with correcting the defects."

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