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Ex-Israeli PM Sharon in 'critical condition'

Doctors treating Sharon say his life is in danger and his vital organs are suffering from critical malfunction.

Last updated: 02 Jan 2014 20:56
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Sharon was for decades one of Israel's most controversial military and political figures [AFP]

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is in a critical condition, after hospital staff treating him said his life was in danger.

Dr Zeev Rotstein, director of Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, said Thursday that Sharon's health had deteriorated during the past two days and that a number of vital organs were suffering from "critical malfunction".

"He is in a critical condition and his life is definitely in danger," Rotstein said.

"The feeling of the doctors treating him and also that of the family with him is that there is a turn for the worse."

It was the first official medical statement on Sharon's health after reports on Wednesday said he had suffered a kidney malfunction.

Sharon had a stroke on January 4, 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.

He has been getting medical care and receiving fluids through a feeding tube.

Last September, Sharon underwent abdominal surgery to correct a problem in his intravenous feeding system.

The operation, which lasted an hour, was planned several months beforehand.

Israeli and US specialists said in January 2013 that Sharon had shown "significant brain activity" in an MRI scan, responding to pictures of his family seven years after the stroke.

In 1983, an Israeli investigative commission concluded that Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings at the Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila, in Lebanon, and that Sharon, who was defence minister at the time, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.

Sharon later found popularity as prime minister from 2001 to 2006. He led Israel's military response to the Palestinian uprising known as the second intifada, all but ending it by 2004.

The next year, he reversed his years of pro-settlement policies and pulled all of Israel's soldiers and settlers out of the Gaza Strip.

That same year he left the Likud Party, which he helped found, and formed the centrist Kadima, a party designed to be centred largely on his own personality.

But only months later, at the age of 77 and considerably overweight, Sharon suffered a series of strokes that left him comatose.

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Source:
AP
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