Fearing threats fromextremist settlers opposing his Gaza pullout plan, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sleeps with a loaded gun under his pillow, according to the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

In spite of the fact that Sharon enjoys an unprecedented level of protection, he still prefers to have his “loaded gun” under his pillow, the paper reported.

The Israeli security service, Shabak, reported recently that threats against Sharon have increased recently as the time approaches for the disengagement, which is slated to begin on August 17, 2005.

Recently a group of 77 extreme Hakhams “religious leaders” voiced threats against Sharon.

Meanwhile, Sharon said he trusts the security men and his bodyguards, adding that he never feels afraid of these threats and won’t allow them to affect his daily schedule.