Comatose Sharon moved to family farm

2010-11-12 08:19
Jerusalem - Former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon was taken on Friday from the hospital bed where he has lain in a coma for nearly five years, for a trial period at home, a hospital official said.

An AFP photographer saw the intensive care ambulance carrying the ex-premier arrive at his 'Sycamore Farm' home in southern Israel early on Friday.

Shlomo Noi, head of the rehabilitation unit at Sheba Hospital, near Tel Aviv, told army radio that Sharon was expected to return to the hospital on Sunday and repeat the exercise several times before it could be ascertained that he could be treated at home on a permanent basis.

On January 4 2006 the premier suffered a massive stroke and slipped into a coma from which he has never recovered, leaving behind him a gaping political vacuum.

Sharon, aged 82, collapsed five months after he embarked on a radical new path which saw him pulling out all Jewish settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation.

Since then, however, peace efforts have led nowhere. At the end of 2008, Israel launched a devastating 22-day offensive in Gaza, during which the Palestinians severed all contact.

Fresh attempts to get the sides talking, which began six weeks ago, are now deadlocked by a dispute over Israeli settlements.

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