Israel's parliament decided in a preliminary vote Monday to dissolve itself, but three more votes are required to clear the way for early elections.
The legislature voted 84-10, with eight abstention, even as President Moshe Katsav weighed a request by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to dissolve parliament by presidential decree. Katsav has said he would decide quickly whether to let parliament set a date for early elections, or pre-empt the legislators.
In either case, elections are widely expected to be held in March, eight months ahead of schedule.
Parliament Speaker Reuven Rivlin urged legislators to hold the subsequent three votes by Tuesday. Rivlin said he had received assurances from the president that he would not issue a decree before Tuesday evening, the AP reports.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February