Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak abruptly announced today that he was quitting politics just weeks ahead of general elections.
But the former general and one-time prime minister is expected to stay in his current post until a new government is formed following the January 22 ballot.
"I didn't make this decision without hesitating, but I made it wholeheartedly," Mr Barak told a hastily arranged news conference, claiming that he had been wrestling with the decision for weeks.
Mr Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have reportedly have fallen out over whether to defer to the US on any attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
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