Netanyahu, main challenger Gantz, both claim Israeli election victory


JERUSALEM: Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main challenger Benny Gantz claimed victory in Israel`s election but exit polls and early results indicated on Wednesday the veteran right-wing leader was on course for a record fifth term.

Updated exit polls on two of Israel`s three main TV channels a few hours after voting ended on Tuesday showed Netanyahu`s Likud winning more parliamentary seats than Gantz`s centrist Blue and White Party. A third survey put Blue and White a seat ahead of Likud.

Though neither party captured a ruling majority in the 120-member Knesset, according to the polls, the surveys put Netanyahu in a stronger position to form a coalition government with right-wing factions, key to an ultimate victory.

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