The condition of Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who has been in a coma since 2006, has deteriorated sharply.
A statement from the Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv where he is being treated said the 85-year-old was “close to death”. His family are at his bedside. He has been suffering from a malfunction of his internal organs.
The former prime minister and military leader was highly controversial both inside and outside Israel during a lengthy career and was a key figure in the history of the state of Israel.