Saturday, 11 January 2014

Ariel Sharon, major figure in Israeli politics, dead at 85

Ariel Sharon, major figure in Israeli politics, dead at 85, Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died Saturday at age 85, eight years after suffering a massive stroke that left him comatose, officials say.
Calling Sharon "my dear friend," Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres described him as "a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him," ABC News reported.

He suffered a brain hemorrhage that caused severe brain damage while campaigning for re-election in 2006.

His condition began worsening on Jan. 1, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Sharon's decades on the Israeli political landscape were marked by both controversy and victory, CNN said. He was defense minister when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and later resigned after a commission found him indirectly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians by Lebanese Christian fighters in refugee camps under Israeli control.

He was also credited as being instrumental in the 1967 Six Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Sharon also helped found two political parties that still have major roles in Israel roles in Israeli politics.

As prime minister in 2005, he ordered Jewish settlers and soldiers to pull out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank, saying he hoped to bring peace to the area.

Sharon's body will lie in state in the Israeli parliament before his state funeral, which is being organized by the prime minister's office. He will be buried on his ranch in the Negev next to his wife, who died in 2000.

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