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Hospital: Ex-Israel PM Sharon faces 'imminent' death

Jan. 5, 2014 12:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 6, 2014 11:56 A.M.)
TEL AVIV (AFP) -- Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was on Sunday facing "imminent" death, the Tel Aviv hospital where he is in critical condition said.

The health of the 85-year-old Sharon, who was dubbed "the Bulldozer" both for his style and physique, has been worsening since Wednesday when he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery.

And on Sunday, the director of Tel Hashomer hospital said Sharon was "still in danger of imminent death" although his "heart is holding out better than we thought."

"I am more pessimistic than I was before ... his vital functions, especially renal, haven't picked up," Zeev Rotstein told reporters.

"I can't see the future, but there's not possible way out of this."

On Friday the hospital said there were traces of infection in Sharon's blood, and that it had not been possible for him to undergo renal dialysis since his other organs were in such a fragile state.

The long-time leader of the rightwing nationalist camp in Israeli politics, Sharon suffered a massive stroke on January 4, 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.

Sharon was first elected premier in February 2001, just months after walking through occupied East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in an action that sparked widespread rage and eventually the Second Intifada.

Sharon is remembered by Arabs as the "Butcher of Beirut" for the massacres of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila by a Lebanese militia, while Israeli troops stood by.

Shortly after his 2006 stroke, Islamist movement Hamas, which now governs Gaza, said the Middle East would be better off without him.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report

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