Ex-chief of Israel's security services joins Sharon's centrist party

The former head of Israel's Shin Bet internal security service announced Wednesday he was joining the ranks of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's centrist party ahead of a March election. Avi Dichter, who headed the Shin Bet during most of the past five years of fighting with the Palestinians and is largely credited for Israel's success in beating down militants, said Sharon and his new Kadima party are best suited to lead the country.

Dichter is the latest high-profile person to join Sharon's party. According to opinion polls, Kadima is expected to sweep the March 28 election. "The leader of the Kadima list, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, possesses, in his leadership, his determination, his courage, the necessary skills to pull the wagon out of the mud," Dichter said at a news conference announcing his decision.

"I decided to join the Kadima list, and along with it to strengthen the belief in the Israeli public that it is really possible to create here a better future for the state of Israel and for the nation of Israel," he said, reports the AP. I.L.

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