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Israel in Close Touch with U.S. As Forces Move in to Free Kuwait

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Israeli government leaders have been in close contact with the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department since the U.S.-led ground offensive against Iraqi forces in Kuwait began before dawn Sunday.

Foreign Minister David Levy said Secretary of State James Baker telephoned him with news that the ground assault had started.

Levy said he looked forward to working with Baker again soon for peace in the region.

Defense Minister Moshe Arens said he was in touch with the Pentagon. While the Israel Defense Force remains at a high state of alert, Arens does not expect Israel to be further involved in the conflict.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir cabled Washington his wishes for speedy success to American and “all coalition forces” engaged against Iraq. The statement was interesting insofar as several of the coalition members are Arab states formally at war with Israel.

Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting was a short one, devoted almost entirely to reports on the war situation. The ministers were briefed by Arens; the IDF chief of staff, Gen. Dan Shomron; and the chief of military intelligence, Gen. Amnon Shahak-Lipkin.

Shamir seemed to be expressing the national sentiment when he told reporters later Sunday that the allies have undertaken “the eradication of Iraqi aggression, which poses a danger to the entire region.”

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