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Kadima leaves Israeli government

The leader of Israel's Kadima party has formally pulled out of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government.

Shaul Mofaz said he made the decision in protest over the government's failure to reform the country's military draft.

"We are going back with our heads held high to lead the nation in the opposition," he said.

Mr Mofaz led Kadima into the coalition in May to work with Mr Netanyahu on writing a new law to end a system of automatic draft exemptions for tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students.

The talks have bogged down, and the sides say they will not be able to find a suitable compromise ahead of a court-ordered August 1 deadline.

His decision leaves Mr Netanyahu with a fragile majority, moving the country toward early elections.

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