Israeli defense officials say a career officer with deep experience battling Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon has been selected as the country's next military chief.

Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is Israel's deputy military chief. He has held key posts during a three-decade career, including the military's head of operations, its West Bank commander and military secretary to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Eisenkot developed a reputation as being level-headed during a war against Hezbollah in 2006 and was put in charge of the northern command, which is responsible for the border with Lebanon, after the widely criticized war ended in a stalemate.

The defense officials spoke Friday on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement, which is expected Saturday.

He will succeed the current military chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.