Former Israeli Leader Sharon’s Health Worsens in Coma

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s condition has deteriorated after eight years in a coma triggered by a stroke, his former spokesman said.

Sharon, 85, is being treated by doctors at Sheba Hospital outside Tel Aviv, said former aide Raanan Gissen in a telephone interview, declining to give more details. Israel Radio reported he is being treated for kidney failure.

Sharon had served four years as prime minister when he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2006. Among Israel’s most controversial generals, Sharon became defense minister and was forced to resign after a government commission assigned him indirect blame for the massacre of Palestinian refugees by Israeli-allied Lebanese Christians in 1982.

After becoming prime minister, Sharon was hailed internationally as a peacemaker when he evacuated thousands of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and handed the territory to the Palestinian Authority.

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