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Ahead of funeral, Israel holds state memorial for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

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Members of the Knesset guard carry the coffin of late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Knesset plaza, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. Israelis from all walks of life flocked to parliament Sunday to catch a glimpse of Ariel Sharon's coffin and pay their final respects to the iconic former prime minister and general. The 85-year-old Sharon died Saturday eight years after a devastating stroke left him in a coma. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)The Associated Press

Israel is holding a state memorial ceremony for the former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the country's parliament building.

Monday's official ceremony in the Knesset in Jerusalem will be followed by a private burial on the family's desert ranch in southern Israel.

Sharon died on Saturday after eight years in a coma.

His coffin has been lying in state at the Knesset's outdoor plaza where Israelis from all walks of life paid respects throughout Sunday.

Israeli politicians and international dignitaries are attending the ceremony, including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Czech Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are also present.