Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Israeli prime minister hospitalized

Here's some breaking news from the CNN website:

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken Wednesday to a hospital in Jerusalem after reporting he was not feeling well, his office said.

Israeli television quoted sources who said it appeared that he suffered a second stroke in less than three weeks.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. AP File Photo

Sharon was fully conscious when he was taken to Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital, where he was being treated by his personal physician, a spokeswoman for the prime minister said.

Sharon, 77, is scheduled for an operation Thursday to repair a small hole in his heart. The hole was discovered during tests after Sharon suffered a minor stroke December 18.

Dr. Chaim Lotem said the hole, 1 to 2 millimeters wide, is a minor birth defect found in 15 percent to 25 percent of people.

CNN also says that "Powers were transferred from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to his deputy, after he had a "significant stroke," officials say."

I don't really have any comments regarding this story, except for the simple question of what will happen in Israel, Washington, and the Middle East--especially with the war in Iraq, if Sharon dies in office? What are the long-term consequences of a possible death of Sharon? I don't really know.

As of now, I'm just watching the situation unfold.

Update on this post. From the CNN Website:

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a "significant stroke" and was taken into surgery Wednesday night at a Jerusalem hospital, a hospital official said.

The 77-year-old's powers of office were transferred to Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert shortly after Sharon arrived at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

Sharon had been taken from his home in the south of Israel to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed a cerebral hemorrhage, or the bleeding of a blood vessel in the brain.

"Given the fact that the treatment of the prime minister requires anesthetic, I spoke to the attorney general a few minutes ago and I spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Olmert, and it's been decided that Mr. Olmert, who is at home ... should have powers transferred to him," said Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon.

The announcement came shortly after Sharon was taken by ambulance to the hospital after complaining of chest pain and weakness, his senior adviser Ra'anan Gissin told CNN.

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