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Israel prepares for death of Ariel Sharon as his condition becomes worse

Ariel Sharon in 2005.
Ariel Sharon in 2005.
CNN/file photo

Former Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon ‘s condition is continuing as his organs continue to deteriorate, including kidney failure, and blood infection courses through his body. 20 inches of his intestines were removed when he first became ill in 2006.

"His condition continues to be critical, and doctors note a number of central systems in his body are not functioning," Amir Maron, spokesman for Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel.

Sharon, 85, has been in a coma for the past eight years following a devastating stroke during the neight of his political career.

A Sabra (native born Israeli), Sharon made his entrance into the world in 1928 in Kfar Malal, and began working with the Haganah (forerunner of what would one day become the Israeli army) that fought for Israel’s Independence after graduating high school in 1945. He then began to rise through the Israeli military ranks in 1953, and helped form an elite commando unit before being promoted to major general in the army, a rank he held during the 6-Day War in 1967.

He also played a major part by heading the Army’s Armored Reserve Division during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, eventually becoming the nation’s agriculture minister and defense minister from 1981-1983. It was during this time that he directed Israel’s invasion into Lebanon, which resulted in the death of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in camps outside of Beirut in September 1982, an action that caused Arab leaders to dub him the “Butcher of Beirut.”

Although he resigned as Defense Minister after the attacks, Ariel Sharon went on to hold several other cabinet posts from 1984-2001, when he was named Prime Minister during a special election. And although he was considered a “hawk,” he did make overtures toward working out a peace agreement with the late PLO leader Yassar Arafat before becoming permanently incapacitated.

His family continues to keep vigil by his bedside as Israel prepares for a state funeral.

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