Breaking News:Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

Israel's ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies
Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died aged 85 after spending eight years in a coma following a stroke.

Mr Sharon was a giant of the Israeli military and political scene, but courted controversy throughout his long career.

The head of the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv said he had died on Saturday afternoon of heart failure.

Mr Sharon’s health had declined for the past week and a half, he said.

The BBC’s Kevin Connolly, in Jerusalem, says Ariel Sharon’s life was intimately entwined with the life of the country he loved.

He fought in Israel’s war of independence in 1948, and from that point until he slipped into a coma in 2006 it seemed there was hardly a moment of national drama in which he did not play a role, our correspondent says.

The 85-year-old, who became PM in 2001, was suffering from a malfunction of several organs including the kidneys, doctors said on Thursday.

Mr Sharon’s health was showing signs of “a slow and gradual deterioration” and his life was in danger, they added.

He had been in a persistent vegetative state since a stroke in 2006.

As prime minister, Mr Sharon presided over some of the most turbulent times in Israeli-Palestinian history, a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and an Israeli military crackdown after peace talks collaps

To many Israelis, Mr Sharon was a heroic warrior, having led decisive campaigns in the 1967 and 1973 wars.

In a tribute, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “his memory will live forever in the nation’s heart”, his spokesman said on Twitter.

Source: BBC News

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