Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir - a soldier, a spy, a statesman and a hawk - has died in Tel Aviv. He was 96 years old.
"Yitzhak Shamir has left us," current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced in a statement: “He was part of a marvelous generation which created the state of Israel and struggled for the Jewish people."
Shamir, a hawk who championed Jewish settlements and opposed land swaps with Palestinians, was an early member of Netanyahu's center-right Likud party. He became prime minister in 1983, after party founder Menachem Begin retired. Shamir held the title until 1984, and then again from 1986 until 1992, when Likud lost power to the Labor party in a general election.
Prior to assuming the post, Shamir was the parliament speaker, and then the foreign minister. Before entering politics, he had served in the Mossad intelligence agency.
Born Yitzhak Jazernicki in Poland in 1915, Shamir moved to the region in 1935, before the formation of Israel.
Shamir leaves behind him two children and five grandchildren. His wife, Shulamit, died last year. He is to be buried alongside her in Jerusalem on Monday.
mkg/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)