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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Olmert Says Military Let Itself Down

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told an investigative panel that the Israeli military "seriously let itself down" in last summer's war in Lebanon, according to censored minutes of his testimony released Thursday.

But Olmert tried to deflect the commission's suggestions that he acted rashly and on the basis of sketchy information.

The 89 pages of testimony were released 10 days after the commission issued a damning appraisal of his handling of the initial stage of the war. The especially harsh censure of Olmert has prompted calls for his resignation.

A final report on the 34-day war is due in the summer.

The war started July 12 when Hezbollah guerrillas carried out a raid into Israel in which three soldiers were killed and two were captured.

The Israeli public backed Olmert throughout the war, but the support broke down after he failed to achieve his two declared aims -- recovering the two soldiers and crushing Hezbollah, which in the course of the war bombarded Israel with nearly 4,000 rockets.

The minutes of Olmert's appearance -- censored by the military on security grounds -- are studded with panel members' suggestions that he made decisions without exploring alternatives.

Olmert said he was convinced Hezbollah would attack Israel and that he had two options: do nothing or do something first. "I don't think there was any option but to act from the very first," he told the commission.