Ex-Israeli military chief and Cabinet minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak dies at 68

Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, a former Israeli military chief who later became a Cabinet minister, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 68.

Lipkin-Shahak died Wednesday in Jerusalem.

Lipkin-Shahak started his military service in the paratrooper brigade and was twice decorated with Israel's Medal of Courage for his conduct in special operations. He rose through the ranks, commanding elite infantry units and holding several top key positions — including five years as head of military intelligence.

As deputy military chief of staff, he was involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Later, he succeeded Ehud Barak to become Israel's 15th military chief between the years 1995-1998. After retiring, he quickly entered politics, serving as tourism minister and then transportation minister under Barak.