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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suffered a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday and aides said he had died at a hospital in Paris
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suffered a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday and aides said he had died at a hospital in Paris, but confusion over his fate grew as officials insisted in public he was still clinging to life. Shaath described Arafat as "very ill," but said his brain, heart and lungs still functioned. A spokesman for French medical services said earlier: "Mr. Arafat is not dead." The conflicting reports surfaced during a visit to Paris by a delegation of three senior Palestinian officials, all seen as potential successors to Arafat, to check on the Palestinian leader despite his wife's angry objections. The group later headed back to the West Bank, where officials said no announcement was expected before their return. In four decades leading the Palestinian nationalist cause, Arafat has gone from guerrilla to Nobel prize-winning peacemaker to a shunned old leader facing renewed bloodshed with Israel. His dream of a Palestinian state remains unrealized, a possible succession battle is brewing and the threat of chaos in Palestinian territories is looming. He has been widely admired by Palestinians as the father of their struggle for statehood but was reviled by many Israelis as the face of terror. Nonetheless, both sides have wondered whether his death might serve as the catalyst for first real peace effort in years or plunge the region into deeper crisis, informs Reuters. According to Bloomberg, Palestinian leaders are discussing leadership changes after Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat slipped into a deeper coma in a hospital in France. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia will convene a gathering of leaders from Palestinian groups today when he returns to the West Bank after seeing Arafat yesterday, Tayeb Abdul Rahim, said late yesterday in Ramallah. Arafat, 75, has ``a brain hemorrhage,'' Palestinian Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat said yesterday in Ramallah. He ruled out any talk of shutting off Arafat's life-support machines. The Palestinian leader's prognosis is ``doubtful,'' French General Christian Estripeau said at the Percy military hospital in Clamart, south of Paris. Qureia and Palestine Liberation Organization Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have been touted as possible successors to Arafat. Under Palestinian Authority law, the Palestinian Legislative Council's speaker, Rawhi Fattouh, takes over as interim president in the event of Arafat's death or permanent incapacitation. Elections must be held within 60 days. The central committee of Fatah, Arafat's faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization, met yesterday to discuss what happens after Arafat dies, said committee member Abbas Zaki. The meeting to be headed by Qureia, also known as Abu Ala, will include officials from the PLO, Fatah and other groups such as Hamas to make ``proper'' decisions, Abdul Rahim said.
Print Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suffered a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday and aides said he had died at a hospital in Paris Bookmark Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suffered a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday and aides said he had died at a hospital in Paris

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