Shlomo Argov, 73, the former Israeli ambassador to Britain who was paralyzed during an assassination attempt by Palestinian militants that triggered Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, died Feb. 23.

He had been in Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital since the shooting. Hospital officials said he died from complications from wounds that left him completely paralyzed and on life-support machines.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced at the start of Sunday's weekly Cabinet meeting that "this morning, before dawn, Ambassador Shlomo Argov died."

Gunmen from the Abu Nidal guerrilla faction, which has ties to Libya, Syria and Iraq, shot Mr. Argov after a diplomatic meeting outside London's Dorchester Hotel. Three Abu Nidal members were convicted in the shooting.

The shooting was Israel's stated pretext for invading Lebanon four days later and laying siege to Beirut for three months until Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his fighters were forced out of the country. The invasion also marked the start of an 18-year Israeli military presence in south Lebanon, which ended with Israel's withdrawal in May 2000.

Reuven Merhav, a former colleague of Mr. Argov, said Sharon, who was defense minister at the time, had planned the Lebanon invasion well before Argov was shot.

"The war plan was ready," Merhav told Israel Radio on Sunday. "He [Sharon] made no secret of it. He had presented the plan to the Americans some months earlier."

Mr. Argov, who was born in Jerusalem, studied in Washington and London and joined Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1959. He served as ambassador to Mexico and the Netherlands before assuming his position as ambassador to Britain in 1979.

The Jerusalem Post described Mr. Argov as "brilliant and suave" and ranked him with orator and historian Abba Eban, Israel's first ambassador to the United Nations, who died in November.

Victor Harel, a deputy director general at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that at the time of the shooting, Mr. Argov was in his physical and intellectual prime, jogging every day and conversing in fluent English and Spanish in addition to his native Hebrew.

While he remained lucid after the shooting, he was emotionally devastated by the awareness of his disability, Harel told the radio.

"He was fully conscious for the first two or three years," he said. "But he couldn't do anything on his own. The paralysis was total. He also got more and more medication, so visiting him became harder and harder."

Mr. Argov's survivors include three children.