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Lebanon offensive could last 30 days-Israeli source

Written by: Staff

JERUSALEM, Aug 9 (Reuters) An expanded Lebanon offensive approved by Israel's security cabinet today could last 30 days, a senior political source said.

''The military presented its timetable, saying it needed at least 30 days, and this was endorsed by the cabinet,'' the source said.

But statements issued by the government gave no timetable and said it would be up to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz to decide.

''The decision has been taken to authorise the military plans.

But the security cabinet has authorised the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary to decide as to the timing,'' said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

One government minister was quoted by the Haaretz newspaper as saying the offensive would not begin for two or three days so as not interfere with ongoing efforts to broker a cease-fire at the United Nations.

Reuters LL RN2237

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