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 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 14:54 GMT
In pictures: Israel at the polls
Two years after their last general election, Israelis returned to the ballot box delivered a comfortable win for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's right-wing Likud party.

Israeli soldier guards road to polling station
Security was tight for Tuesday's vote, with thousands of police and soldiers deployed

Election poster of Ariel Sharon
The figure of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, elected in 2001, dominated the election

Ultra-Orthodox Jews prepare to vote
After two years of the intifada, many Israelis back Sharon's focus on security and a tough line on the Palestinians

Palestinian students walk past a wall daubed with an anti-Sharon slogan in Nablus
Palestinian areas were closed off for the poll, as Israel believed there was a high risk of attack from militants

Inside a Jerusalem polling station
But Israeli election officials still reported the lowest turnout in the country's history

Election banner for National Unity Party displayed in West Bank settlement of Efrat
Most opinion polls had predicted victory for 74-year old Mr Sharon...

Members of the secular Shinui Party - a possible coalition partner
But Mr Sharon will still have the tricky task of putting a new coalition together...

Banner for ultra-Orthodox Shas leader near the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion
... which could take days or even weeks given the political horse-trading required

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Barbara Plett
"They are not looking for a new leader in a crisis"
  The BBC's Jim Fish in Jerusalem
"They have been through the worst two years of violence"

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28 Jan 03 | Middle East
26 Jan 03 | Middle East
24 Jan 03 | Middle East
28 Jan 03 | Middle East
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