Jerusalem: Ariel Sharon, the tough Army general turned premier who shocked his hawkish supporters by pulling Israel out of Gaza in 2005, is still lying unconscious in a hospital bed, friends said on Sunday on the fourth anniversary of the massive stroke that put him in a coma.
Sharon, 81, led Israel from 2001 until the January 2006 stroke that left him comatose.
Dov Weisglass, a close friend of Sharon and his former spokesman, said that Sharon`s vital signs are good but it was not clear if he would ever regain consciousness. Medical experts have said that is most unlikely.
Sharon was a daring Army officer who reached the rank of major general In the 1970s, sometimes disobeying orders from his superiors. After leaving the Army, Sharon turned to politics, becoming a hawkish lawmaker in the Likud Party and an enthusiastic supporter of the movement to settle the West Bank with Israelis.