The Israeli government named Sunday Avraham Dichter, a longstanding agent with the internal security service Shin Beth as its new chief.
Dichter, 47, a former member of the elite commando unit once headed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak, will take up his post next week, replacing Admiral Ami Ayalon, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.
Dichter currently serves as deputy head of the Shin Beth, where he started his career 26 years ago as a bodyguard protecting the country's leaders and other VIPs.
Ayalon took control of Shin Beth in February 1996, replacing Karmi Gillon who stepped down after being officially reprimanded over the security breakdown which allowed a Jewish radical to assassinate prime minister Yitzhak Rabin the previous November.
Ayalon's appointment was the first to be publicly announced by the shadowy secret service
The Shin Beth, set up in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel, also conducts counter-espionage, general intelligence and the prevention of anti-Israeli attacks which has involved the use of torture and other repressive measures against Palestinians - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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