JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel has withdrawn from about 90 percent of the territory it held in south Lebanon during its 34-day war there against Hezbollah guerrillas, and hopes to be out completely by the end of the week, officials said Tuesday.
Israel is generally satisfied with the deployment of U.N. and Lebanese forces in the area as outlined in the cease-fire arrangement that ended the war last month, the officials added.
“We have to coordinate with the new and old forces of the United Nations” and Lebanon, said Miri Eisin, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “We hope that we will be finished by this Friday.”
Eisin said that the troops were already out of 90 percent of the territory they held during the conflict.
Senior military officials confirmed her assessments. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press about troop deployments.
Israel wants to make sure the U.N. and Lebanese troops “are effective forces” before it withdraws totally from the area, Eisin said.
About 5,000 U.N. troops and 10,000 Lebanese army soldiers are located in south Lebanon where they are supposed to help maintain the Aug. 14 cease-fire that calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah and end of Israeli military operations in the area. The Israeli troops are concentrated in a few border strips.