- POSTED: 11 Jan 2014 22:41
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli people will "forever" cherish the memory of former premier Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday at a hospital near Tel Aviv.
JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli people will "forever" cherish the memory of former premier Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday at a hospital near Tel Aviv.
"The State of Israel bows its head over the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon," he said in a statement.
"His memory will forever be held in the heart of the nation," said Netanyahu, who expressed "deep sorrow" at Sharon's death.
Sharon, 85, died at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Hashomer at around 1200 GMT on Saturday, officials and his son Gilad Sharon said.
He had been in a coma since January 4, 2006 after suffering a massive stroke, and his condition recently took a turn for the worse when he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery.
Netanyahu called Sharon "a central part in Israel's struggle for security".
"He was first and foremost a brave warrior and a great military leader, one of the greatest in the Israel Defence Forces," he said, using the official name for the Israeli army.
"When he left the military he continued his work for Israel, in his many roles in the Israeli government and of course as Israel's 11th prime minister," said Netanyahu.