Blair's tribute to Ariel Sharon at memorial service

Tony Blair has heralded Ariel Sharon as "a giant of this land" at the state memorial service for the former Israeli prime minister, who died on Saturday. He was laid to rest at a ranch he owned near Sderot, close to Gaza.

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Ex-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon laid to rest at family ranch

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been buried at his family ranch in the Negev desert, beside his late wife.

In the second of two funeral services held today, Sharon's sons Gilad and Omri Sharon, as well as Israel's Military Chief Benny Gantz, paid tribute to the statesman.

Ariel Sharon's family attend their father's funeral near his former residence Sycamore Farm in southern Israel. Credit: Reuters
Israeli army officers salute as they stand over Ariel Sharon's grave. Credit: Reuters

Mr Sharon died at the age of 85 on Saturday after spending the last eight years in a coma caused by a stroke.


Blair and Biden pay tribute to Sharon at memorial

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US vice president Joe Biden have paid homage to Ariel Sharon at his state funeral service in Jerusalem.

Family members walk behind the flag-draped coffin of Ariel Sharon during a memorial ceremony at the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Credit: Reuters
US vice president Joe Biden speaks in front of the coffin of Ariel Sharon during the memorial service. Credit: Reuters
Israeli army officers salute the coffin of Ariel Sharon. Credit: Reuters

Blair's tribute to Sharon: 'A giant of this land'

Speaking at the state memorial service in the southern Negev desert, former Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to Ariel Sharon's "idea that the Jewish people, so often victims of injustice and persecution, should have a state where they could be independent and free."

"Think good or ill of Arik Sharon, agree or disagree with him, but that calling - a noble one - was plain and unalloyed," he said.

Sharon, he added, was "a warrior to create his country, yet wise enough to know that war alone could not secure his future."

"He was a giant of this land."

Israelis pay last respects to Sharon ahead of funeral

Sharon will be buried later today. Credit: Reuters

Thousands of Israelis have been paying their final respects to ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ahead of his state funeral later today.

Mourners spelt out Arik Sharon outside the parliament building in Jerusalem. Credit: Reuters

His coffin lay in state outside the parliament building in Jerusalem yesterday, and last night mourners came to light candles in his honour.

His funeral will be held at the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and then his body will be taken to his far, Sycamore ranch, near Sderot in southern Israel where he will be buried in a military ceremony next to his wife Lili, who died in 2000.


Israelis pay their respects to ex-PM Ariel Sharon

Israelis have been paying their respects to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as his body lies in state at parliament ahead of his funeral tomorrow.

The 85-year-old died yesterday after spending eight years in a coma after a major stroke in 2006.

Israel's President Shimon Peres (C) prepares to lay a wreath on Ariel Sharon's coffin Credit: Reuters
Israeli army officers salute in front of the flag draped coffin of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon Credit: Reuters

Ariel Sharon's body escorted to Israeli parliament

The body of Ariel Sharon has been laid outside the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, where it will remain until his funeral tomorrow.

The former prime minister's coffin was escorted from hospital to the Knesset this morning.

Ariel Sharon's body is laid outside the Knesset in Jerusalem. Credit: APTV
The former prime minister's coffin will lie in state until tomorrow. Credit: APTV

UN chief saddened by death of ex-Israeli PM Sharon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said Saturday he was "saddened" by the death of Ariel Sharon, former prime minister of Israel, and called on the country to build on his legacy of pragmatism to press ahead with the Israeli- Palestinian peace process.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Credit: PA

Sharon will be remembered for "his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip," the UN chief said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General calls on Israel to build on the late prime minister's legacy of pragmatism to work towards the long overdue achievement of an independent and viable Palestinian state, next to a secure Israel," the statement said.

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