The condition of former Israeli leader Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since a 2006 stroke, continues to decline, a hospital official has said.

In his daily update since Mr Sharon took a turn for the worse last week, Zeev Rotstein, director of the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said the 85-year-old's cardiovascular system was stable but the function of his other organs was slowly deteriorating.

"Absent anything short of a miracle, his condition will get worse day by day," Mr Rotstein said. 

"We are continuing to describe his conditional as critical, with immediate danger to his life."

He said Mr Sharon's two sons remained at his bedside.

One of Israel's most famous generals, Mr Sharon left his mark on the region through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock, unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005.

In 1983, an Israeli state inquiry found Mr Sharon, then the defence minister, bore personal responsibility for the killing of hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children at Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

He was forced to resign his post.   

The slaughter took place after the Israeli army, which invaded Lebanon in 1982, allowed Israeli-backed Christian Phalangist militiamen to enter the camps, ostensibly to search for Palestinian gunmen.