Apparently, Arafat isn’t dead.
Arafat has ‘inflamed stomach’
From correspondents in Paris
PALESTINIAN leader Yasser Arafat is suffering from an inflamed stomach but has no plans to leave his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah for treatment, the Palestinian envoy in Paris said today.
“The doctor who saw him has indicated that he had not had a heart attack and didn’t have cancer, but was suffering from an inflammation of the stomach with symptoms of vomiting,” Leila Shahid told French radio.
She said that Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority, “refuses to be transferred to a hospital” because “the Israelis will never let him return.”
Meanwhile in Malaysia, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) political department chief Faruq Qaddumi told reporters that Arafat “was in good health”.
“I spoke to him several hours ago, at 3.30pm local time (5pm AEST), he is in good health and he told me about all these (Israeli) atrocities,” said Qaddumi, the highest ranking Palestinian official attending the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.
He added that Arafat “passed through difficult times because of a serious flu, but now he is in good health”.
There has been widespread speculation about Arafat’s health, including a report in a British newspaper that he had suffered a mild heart attack – a claim that had been hushed up to avoid panic in the Palestinian ranks.
US magazine Time claimed on its website that Arafat, who has appeared frail in recent days, has stomach cancer, citing an unnamed source at Arafat’s West Bank headquarters.
But Arafat’s entourage insists he is recovering from a bout of gastric influenza and the Palestinian authority says an Egyptian medical team that examined him found him to be in good health.