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Gaza Militants Fire Rockets After Sharon Burial

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was buried at his family farm Monday, while Gaza militants fired two rockets that hit an area close to the ranch.

The burial of the 85-year-old leader, who died Saturday after years in a coma, took place Monday, just 10 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of onlookers braved tight security to attend the burial service.

Military officials say they retaliated for the two missiles fired from Gaza Monday, with two air raids on the central and southern parts of the Palestinian territory. There was no information on damages from either attack.

Earlier Monday, at Sharon's state memorial service in Jerusalem, Israeli President Shimon Peres said the former prime minister "never rested" in working for his country's people. Mr. Peres said Mr. Sharon added an "unforgettable chapter" to Israel's history.

Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he did not always agree with Mr. Sharon, but he highlighted his predecessor's commitment to Israel's security.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden praised Mr. Sharon's role as a founding leader of Israel whose guiding principle was the survival of the state and the Jewish people. Biden also noted the prime minister's actions that "earned him controversy and even consternation."



"From my observation, he was a complex man, but to understand him better I think it's important, history will judge, he also lived in complex times in a very complex neighborhood."



Former British Prime Minister and Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair also spoke at the service, calling Mr. Sharon "unorthodox, unyielding" and a "giant" of Israel.



"He had the toughness of mind to despise all illusions about the threats facing Israel, but he had the imagination to know that genuine peace, if attainable with honor and dignity both for Arabs and Israelis, is the anchor ultimately for Israel's security."



Officials from Russia, Germany, Spain, Canada and the Czech Republic also attended Monday's memorial.

Mr. Sharon served as Israel's prime minister from 2001 until 2006, when he suffered a massive stroke left him in a coma for the rest of his life. He was buried at his ranch in the Negev desert in southern Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders sent condolence messages to Israel and Mr. Sharon's family. But Palestinians who had seen the former minister as a bitter enemy rejoiced at the news of his death.

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