Israel says it plans to pull its troops out of southern Lebanon sometime over the next seven to ten days. Officials have also confirmed that some forward positions may be handed over to UN troops within 48 hours. Israel initially said its troops would start pulling out only when an expanded UNIFIL force and the Lebanese army begins deploying.
Israel had sent about 30,000 troops into southern Lebanon, taking territory all the way to the Litani river, some 20 kilometres north of the Israeli border. UNIFIL already has 2,000 troops in Lebanon but the UN gave the green light on Friday to expand the force to as many as 15,000. French military officers, who are expected to lead the peacekeepers, are heading to the UN in New York to begin planning for the operation.