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Olmert tours Beersheva, says Israel to avoid long war

Jan. 1, 2009 3:38 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 1, 2009 3:38 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited the central Israeli town of Beersheva on Thursday, where he told Israeli press that "no war was declared in Gaza."

"But it's clear that it is impossible to continue accepting a reality where hundreds of thousands of Israelis are living in continuous fear," the prime minister said.

He said that the Israeli military hopes to achieve its goals quickly, and that Israel will deal with Hamas "with an iron fist," despite that "they handle themselves with silk gloves."

During Olmert's tour of Beersheva on Thursday, he held a meeting with residents, met with the mayor and visited sites struck by projectiles.

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