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Uri Dan, 71; Israeli journalist, Sharon spokesman

December 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Uri Dan, a veteran Israeli journalist and confidant of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, died Sunday outside Tel Aviv after a long illness. He was 71.

Israeli media said he had been suffering from lung cancer.

During a career spanning more than three decades, Dan wrote for a number of Israeli publications, including the Maariv daily and the English-language Jerusalem Post.

He also wrote several books and served as Israel correspondent for the New York Post.

But Dan was best-known for his close friendship with Sharon.

The two became acquainted in the 1950s, and Dan documented Sharon's crossing of the Suez Canal during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Dan also served as Sharon's spokesman when Sharon was defense minister during the Lebanon War in the early 1980s.

At the time, Sharon was criticized for his actions in the war; he earlier had been passed over as a candidate for army chief.

"Those who didn't want to see him as army chief shall have him as defense minister, and those who didn't want him as defense minister shall have him as prime minister," Dan presciently said.

A funeral is scheduled for today in Tel Aviv.

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