Israel's Likud leads Knesset race after fighting: Poll

Likud would win 25 seats, according to the poll, one seat ahead of the Zionist Union, which consists of the Labor and Hatnuah parties

Likud would win 25 seats, according to the poll, one seat ahead of the Zionist Union, which consists of the Labor and Hatnuah parties

JERUSALEM – Israel's right-wing Likud Party, of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the leader, rose to the top spot in Israel's first pre-election survey since this week's deadly confrontations between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters.

According to the results of the survey, which was conducted Thursday by The Jerusalem Post and Maariv newspapers and which relied on 504 respondents, Netanyahu's Likud would win the most Knesset seats for the first time since the formation of the center-left Zionist Union alliance last December.

Likud would win 25 seats, according to the poll, one seat ahead of the Zionist Union, which consists of the Labor and Hatnuah parties.

Two Israeli troops were killed and seven others injured on Wednesday when Lebanon's Hezbollah group attacked two military vehicles in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms region.

A UN peacekeeper – part of a Spanish UNIFIL contingent – was also killed in the violence. UNIFIL has so far refrained from accusing either Hezbollah or Israel of killing the peacekeeper.

However, a Lebanese security official told AA that the peacekeeper was killed by Israeli artillery during the confrontations.

The attack by Hezbollah came ten days after the Lebanese group had accused Israel of killing six of its fighters – along with six Iranians – in a drone strike in the Syrian town of Quneitra.

Last month, Netanyahu called early elections, citing difficulties leading the state with his outgoing government.

Netanyahu had dismissed two leading members of his cabinet – justice minister and Hatnuah leader Tzippi Livni and finance minister Yair Lapid – earlier, prompting the collapse of his coalition government.

Israel held its last general election in January of 2013. General elections must be held every four years, barring a decision to hold snap elections.

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