JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 77, the most powerful Israeli leader in 50 years, has died, Middle East Newsline reported.
However subsequent wire reports said Sharon showed “significant improvement” after five hours of emergency brain surgery Friday.
The confusion was exacerbated by the timing of the reports which came at the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, at sundown on Friday, when traditionally arrangements for the dead and burials are delayed until Saturday night.
Sharon was declared dead by physicians at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital before 1 p.m. Israeli time [6 a.m. EST], the report stated. Authorities had already been notified of the death, and a government announcement was expected to be issued over the next hour, it continued.
However Reuters reported Sharon underwent emergency surgery to stem fresh bleeding in his brain. “During the surgery the cranial pressure was released and some of the blood clots that remained from the previous surgery were drained,” Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, told reporters.