New Australian leader says troops will be home from Iraq by mid-2008

Prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd reportedly said Friday that Australian combat troops will be home from Iraq by "about the middle" of 2008. Rudd, whose Labor Party swept to power at elections last Saturday, has a policy of withdrawing Australia's 550 combat forces from Iraq but leaving several hundred other troops there. "The combat force in Iraq we would have home by around about the middle of next year," Rudd was quoted by Australian Associated Press as telling a radio interviewer.