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Following the announcement of the resignation of his chief of staff, Shalom Kital, on Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is continuing to make wide-ranging personnel changes among senior staff. Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad is expected to resign shortly as head of the political-security branch of the Defense Ministry, although the Defense Ministry denies this.

He is to be replaced by Brig. Gen. (res.) Yekutiel Mor. Within the past two days, Barak has announced the appointment of a new chief of staff for his office, Yoni Koren, as well as the appointment of Brig. Gen. Michel Ben-Baruch as his military secretary.

Gilad's expected resignation is a surprising development. He is thought to enjoy an especially high stature in the defense establishment, although his personal relations with Barak have fluctuated. Gilad was appointed to his current position by then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz in 2003. Over the past year, Gilad has also served as acting coordinator of activities in the territories. By virtue of holding both posts, he had broad authority and major influence on Israel's defense ties with various countries.

Gilad was also highly involved in negotiations to secure the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. He became embroiled in a confrontation with then-prime minister Ehud Olmert last March when the Maariv newspaper quoted Gilad as voicing strong criticism of Olmert's handling of efforts to have Shalit freed.

Last night senior defense officials expressed disappointment over Gilad's impending departure, saying they found it hard to understand why Barak would forgo the talents of someone like him at such a crucial period.

Gilad's replacement, Mor, served in the late 1980s as head of the research division of the IDF's intelligence corps and as the defense minister's chief of staff. He is currently head of the Defense Ministry's rehabilitation unit