Israel Mourns Late Ariel Sharon

World | January 12, 2014, Sunday // 10:21
Bulgaria: Israel Mourns Late Ariel Sharon Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon passed away Saturday at the age of 85, photo EPA/BGNES

Mourning for ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has begun in Israel with his body lying in state on Sunday.

Sharon died Saturday at the age of 85 of heart failure after eight years in a coma.

Sharon's coffin will be placed at a plaza in front of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in Jerusalem on Sunday to allow the public to pay their respects for six hours, from noon (10:00 GMT) to 6 pm local time, the BBC reports.

A ceremony will be held there Monday morning, which is going to be attended by Israeli and international dignitaries. Vice-President Joe Biden will lead the US delegation and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also expected to go.

A few hours later Sharon will be buried in a private ceremony at his farm - the Sycamore ranch -in the Negev desert, where his late wife Lily was laid to rest in 2000.

Israeli and world figures have paid tribute to a man who fought in four major wars before taking to the political stage. However, Palestinians, who see him as a top enemy, have rejoiced upon learning the news.

Israel's President Shimon Peres, a long-time friend and political rival who was part of a unity government with Sharon in 2001, joined other world leaders by saying he was "an exceptional man and an exceptional commander who moved his people and loved them and the people loved him".

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Tags: Ariel Sharon, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Tel Aviv, Knesset, Jerusalem, Joe Biden, Sergei Lavrov, Sycamore ranch, Negev desert, Shimon Peres
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