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Israel Names Ehud Barak as Defense Minister

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, recently elected to head the Labour Party, has been named as the new defense minister in the coalition government.

The Israeli cabinet approved Mr. Barak's appointment by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who heads the centrist Kadima Party. Israeli media reported Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is expected to approve Mr. Barak's appointment on Monday.

Amir Peretz, who Mr. Barak defeated in the race for Labor Party leader, announced Friday he will resign as defense minister after Mr. Barak is confirmed.

Mr. Barak's appointment as defense minister comes a day after the militant group Hamas seized power from the more moderate Fatah party in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip on Israel's southern border.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.