Israeli report

 

The attacks came shortly before Israel's high court delayed the release of the first official report on the state's conduct during the Lebanon war, giving a respite to Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister.

  

Micha Lindenstrauss, the state comptroller, had been due to present his interim conclusions on the 34-day war last year to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

  

But ruling on a last-minute appeal by the army, the supreme court said he could not present any conclusions at present and could only talk about how he collected information for his report.

  

The comptroller, who has been embroiled in an unprecedented row with Olmert over the report, was expected to deliver a scathing verdict on the handling of the home front before and during the 34-day against Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters.

  

Olmert has faced criticism for his handling
of the war at home and abroad [AFP]
Lindenstrauss's inquiry is one of several investigations into the conduct of the army and government during the war, when northern Israel was hit by more than 4,000 rockets fired by Lebanon's Shia-led fighter group, Hezbollah.

  

Olmert and Amir Peretz, Israel's defence minister, have faced public calls to resign over the failure to halt Hezbollah fire or retrieve two soldiers captured in a cross-border raid that provoked the conflict on July 12.

  

In a bid to subdue public anger, Olmert last year instructed Lindenstrauss to review the state's handling of Israel's home front, namely the performance of civilian protection and rescue services during times of emergency.

  

When Lindenstrauss hinted that his initial findings could scrutinise the personal conduct of several key players, including Olmert and the head of the army's homefront division, it triggered unprecedented political turmoil.

  

Plunging ratings

 

Olmert received low approval ratings after the war that failed to achieve its main objectives, and after a series of scandals involving him and top figures in his government.

  

The premier has accused Lindenstrauss of waging a politically motivated attack.

  

Lindenstrauss, who is also investigating Olmert's allegedly unlawful real estate deals, has accused him of trying to divert attention away from his responsibility.

  

The Lindenstrauss report comes weeks ahead of the publication of the long-awaited findings of the main inquiry into the government and army's handling of the war, by the so-called Winograd committee.

  

More than 160 Israelis and 1,200 Lebanese were killed in the war that also saw Israel criticised abroad for the devastating effect of its attacks which destroyed thousands of homes and  key infrastructure. 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies