Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Defense Forces chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi expressed relief Thursday after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein cleared the IDF officers from any implication in a document at the center of a row over the selection of the next army chief.
The AG released a statement saying that and the other senior officers were not implicated in the document named for Brigadier-General Yoav Galant - the head of the IDF Southern Command and a front-runner in the race to succeed Ashkenazi - and purports to outline a PR campaign for Galant in his efforts to become the next chief of staff.
The attorney general's comments came as Israel Police issued a statement alleging that no evidence had been found that "any workers of the defense minister or IDF general staff were involved in the preparation of the document."
Barak said in a statement that he knew all along that the document was a forgery and that it was created and circulated in the media in order to harm the process of appointing the next IDF chief.
He added that he was pleased at the outcome of the investigation and thanked the police for their thorough and swift investigation into the matter.
IDF chief Ashkenazi said earlier that "it is clear that public opinion of the IDF has been severely damaged and the allegations against the IDF senior officers were completely unfounded."
"I did not believe for a moment that any of the members of the general staff or top IDF officers had anything to do with this matter," Ashkenazi said in a statement released by the IDF spokesman's office.
The IDF chief thanked the Police commissioner and the investigation team for their findings which cleared the officers of any suspicions against them.
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