Israel’s former prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has died at a hospital in Tel Aviv after eight years in coma, Israeli media reported.
Israeli Army Radio said the former premier died on Saturday at the age of 85.
On January 4, 2006, Sharon suffered a stroke and went into a coma, from which he never recovered.
He was being treated at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.
Sharon’s health condition deteriorated on January 1, after he suffered kidney problems following surgery.
He was the prime minister of the Israeli regime from 2001 to 2006, and was directly responsible for war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanese.
Jibril Rajoub, a top Palestinian official of the Fatah party, described Sharon as a criminal and expressed regret that he had never appeared before the International Criminal Court.
“Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of (former Palestinian President Yasser) Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal,” he added.
Hamas also said the death of ex-Israeli prime minister was a “historic moment,” that marks the “disappearance of a criminal whose hands were covered with Palestinian blood.”
Salah el-Bardaweel, a spokesman for Hamas noted in a separate statement that Sharon was a “criminal,” adding, “We pray to Allah that Sharon and all the Zionist leaders who committed massacres against our people to go to hell.”
“When the Palestinian people remember Sharon, they only remember pain, blood, torture, displacement and crimes. We will never feel sorry for his death,” he added.
Palestinians in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp celebrated Sharon’s death by firing into the air. The camp in southern Lebanon houses some 70,000 Palestinians.
Sharon led Israel into a war with Lebanon in 1982 and was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut, after his forces allowed allied Lebanese militias into the camps.
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