World media and well-wishers continue to hold a vigil outside the Jerusalem hospital where Ariel Sharon is being treated. The Israeli prime minister is said to be in a critical but stable condition following emergency surgery to stop bleeding in his brain. Sharon was rushed to hospital on Wednesday evening after suffering a major stroke.
The 77-year old – who is on a breathing machine – remains in an artificial coma. Sharon had already suffered a minor stroke last month but returned to work within days. His illness comes as Israel prepares for an election which he had been widely tipped to win. The elderly leader quit the ruling right-wing Likud Party late last year to form a new centrist group, Kadima. The latest stroke has led many to question whether he should have been allowed to go back to work so soon. Close aides, friends and his two sons remain at his bedside.