Netanyahu, opposition's Lieberman disagree on reported unity deal

Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman attends a press conference in the Finance ministry in Jerusalem
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party said on Saturday opposition politician Avigdor Lieberman had agreed to join the security cabinet, but Lieberman appeared to deny this, saying he wanted to be part of a smaller forum running the Gaza war.

"I am willing to join the war cabinet in order to bring about the fastest possible victory. I have no interest in being 'Minister Number 38' in the cabinet and serve as a fig leaf," Lieberman said in a social-media post.

An hour earlier, Netanyahu's Likud party said he had invited Lieberman and another, unidentified member of the opposition politician's nationalist party to the security cabinet. "Lieberman accepted the invitation," the statement said.

The conservative Netanyahu has been trying to broaden his government's base as Israel gears up for a possible ground invasion of Gaza after a week of air strikes in response to the devastating cross-border Hamas onslaught a week ago.

The centrist party of former defence minister Benny Gantz agreed on Wednesday to form a unity government with Netanyahu and his right wing coalition partners to confront the crisis triggered by the attack.

(Reporting by Dan WilliamsWriting by James MackenzieEditing by Mark Potter and Christina Fincher)