Blair and Biden attend Sharon service


A state and military funeral, reflecting the two parts of his career, will take place today for former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday aged 85.

Mr Sharon will be buried in a military ceremony, on his farm, Sycamore Ranch, near Sderot in southern Israel.

Leaders from around the world are at the Knesset memorial service this morning, including US Vice President Joe Biden, former Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Thousands have already filed past the coffin of Mr Sharon, who was laid in state outside the Knesset on Sunday.

Prayers were said and flags were flown at half mast as the coffin was placed on a podium outside the building.

President Shimon Peres laid a wreath and stood in silence beside the coffin, while many took pictures and lit candles in memory of the former leader.

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute, saying: “Ariel Sharon is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and as prime minister he took brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace, before he was so tragically incapacitated.

“Israel has today lost an important leader.”

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