Friends,family mark 80th birthday of ailing Sharon

February 28th, 2008 - 11:50 pm ICT by admin  

Tel Aviv, Feb 26 (DPA) Family and friends of comatose former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon were set Tuesday to gather around his hospital bed to mark his 80th birthday. Sharon suffered a haemorrhagic stroke on Jan 4, 2006 and has been in a coma ever since. In February 2006 he was treated for gangrene in his digestive tract, a part of which had to be removed before he was shifted from the Jerusalem hospital where he had been since his stroke, to a hospital outside Tel Aviv, where he lies in the respiratory rehabilitation centre.

His condition is described as stable, and all attempts to revive him have failed.

The family was not expected to hold any celebrations, but reports in the Israeli media said they might bring a “symbolic gift” to Sharon’s bedside.

The occasion is further marred by the fact that Sharon’s son Omri is due to begin serving a seven-month prison sentence next week, after being found guilty of election fraud.

Sharon, a controversial former army general who entered politics, was elected prime minister in 2001, and re-elected in 2003.

At the time of his stroke, he seemed to be heading for another election victory, at the head of the Kadima Party, which he formed when he broke away from the hawkish Likud Party.

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