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Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, 68; Israeli general encouraged peace negotiations

AMNON LIPKIN-SHAHAK

Nati Harnick/A.P./file 1999

AMNON LIPKIN-SHAHAK

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

Revered in Israel as a daring commando and admired general, Mr. Lipkin-Shahak’s term as military chief in the 1990s included coping with a wave of suicide bombings against Israel along with the military coordination that accompanied ­nascent peace talks.

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Even while still in uniform, he conducted negotiations with Israel’s bitterest enemies and later in life became a staunch supporter of peace with Syria and the Palestinians.

He oversaw a 16-day military campaign, named ‘‘Grapes of Wrath,’’ against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon in 1996.

He began his service as a paratrooper and was twice decorated with Israel’s Medal of Courage for his conduct of special operations.

One of those operations was a famed 1973 raid on Beirut, in which Israeli commandos rowed in from the Mediterranean Sea to attack and kill top Palestinians behind the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

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