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Israel: Pullout from Lebanon Unlikely by Friday

Israel's army chief says a complete Israeli troop pullout from Lebanon is unlikely this week, contradicting predictions by other officials and himself.

Lieutenant General Dan Halutz did not explain why the pullout could take several more days. Israeli officials had said that their country was aiming for a total pullout by the start of the Jewish New Year, at sundown Friday.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz told reporters earlier Wednesday that he hoped there would be no last-minute delays in coordinating with the Lebanese army and international forces in southern Lebanon.

Over the last few weeks, some 5,000 international troops have arrived in Lebanon to support the truce that stopped a month of warfare between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas.

Israel invaded Lebanon in early July after Hezbollah staged a cross-border raid and seized two Israeli soldiers.

During the month-long war, more than 1,000 Lebanese and 150 Israelis were killed. The United Nations brokered a ceasefire in August.