Israeli leaders yesterday expressed satisfaction at the start of the ground offensive against Iraqi forces in Kuwait. ``I think there is cause to be calm, as well as satisfied,'' Defense Minister Moshe Arens, told Army Radio. Mr. Arens said Israel was prepared for every eventuality, including a chemical attack. Iraq launched its 37th Scud missile at Israel on Saturday evening, less than 10 minutes before the expiration of President Bush's deadline for Iraq to start pulling out of Kuwait. The missile, which carried a conventional warhead, caused some damage, but no one was injured. Meanwhile, however, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, 1.7 million Palestinians were confined indoors by a renewed curfew. Israel Radio said the move was taken to prevent disturbances. In the Jordan Valley, a lone infiltrator from Jordan killed an Israeli soldier and wounded another before being shot dead, in the third incident of its kind this year. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wished the United States forces ``speedy and total success,'' in the Gulf. David Levy, the foreign minister, was informed of the start of the offensive in an early morning telephone call from US Secretary of State, James Baker III. ``He [Baker] said that ... he expects this nightmare to pass quickly,'' Mr. Levy told Army Radio, ``so that we can meet and discuss matters of common interest to both our countries and the furthering of the peace process.'' Israeli leaders are hoping that the coalition offensive will remove much of Iraq's remaining military hardware, including its unconventional arsenal. ``We are far from destroying the Iraqi war machine,'' Arens told Israel Radio Saturday. ``If he [Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] withdraws from Kuwait, he will still have part of his war machine, and this can certainly cause a problem in the future,'' he said. When asked yesterday if Israel might join in the ground offensive, Arens replied ``I prefer not to address this question at the present stage.'' -PATHNAME- /usr/local/etc/httpd/plweb/DBGROUPS/paper/database/tape/91/mar/week10/oadam.

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