In an effort to explain the reasons for the Israeli action, the foreign ministry issues a statement detailing the activities of the Hezbollah and the vast damage it caused in recent years. It reiterated Israels offer to exchange all prisoners and hostages, Israeli, Americans and Europeans. Text:
2. In our ongoing struggle against terrorism, we have found the Hezbollah to be a most bloody, deceitful and extremist terror organization. So far, it has killed about 300 Americans, more than 70 Frenchmen and dozens of Israelis. If it were not for the vigilance of the Israel Defense Forces, which has repeatedly thwarted terrorist incursions, many more innocent lives would have been lost.
3. For the past three years, Shiite factions have' been holding three Israeli servicemen prisoner, while the fate of another three is still unknown. All of Israel's attempts to obtain their freedom through peaceful means have been rejected.
4. It is in this context that Israel apprehended Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid, who directed, planned and actively participated in a number of terrorist operations, including the abduction of Col. Higgins.
5. Israel fully and wholeheartedly welcomes the call voiced by President Bush to bring about a reversal of the cycle of violence. It is in that spirit that Defense Minister Rabin publicly proposed yesterday to exchange all hostages of all nationalities for Shi'ites held by Israel. This offer stands.
6. We are engaged in a bitter struggle against terrorism. Innocent American and European lives have been lost through terrorist acts which were unrelated in any way to prior Israeli actions. We are deeply concerned about the lives of all of the hostages in Lebanon, and strongly urge their immediate release.
7. The democratic world must stand united in our common struggle against terrorism, for if we fall in this, we would grant the terrorists an easy victory and invite upon ourselves many more innocent victims.