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Sharon's death: Israelis pay last respects to founding father

Published on Jan 12, 2014 11:19 AM

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel prepared to pay its respects Sunday to Ariel Sharon, both admired and reviled for his uncompromising style and whose death drew emotional reactions even after eight years in a coma.

Celebrated as a military hero by some, recognised as a pragmatic politician by others and despised as a bloodthirsty criminal by his foes, Sharon was a polarising figure at home and abroad.

But Israelis of all stripes acknowledged Mr Sharon as a key figure in their country's history, whose death at 85 on Saturday left President Shimon Peres as the Jewish state's last surviving founding father.

Mr Sharon's body was to lie in state on Sunday at Jerusalem's Knesset, or parliament, between 1000 GMT (6pm Singapore time) and 1600 GMT, a statement from the prime minister's office said.

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