Arafat 'not dead' says French military official

4th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

CLAMART, France, Nov 4 (AFP) - Yasser Arafat "is not dead," the top medical official for the French defence forces said outside the military hospital in a Paris suburb treating the 75-year-old Palestinian leader.

CLAMART, France, Nov 4 (AFP) - Yasser Arafat "is not dead," the top medical official for the French defence forces said outside the military hospital in a Paris suburb treating the 75-year-old Palestinian leader.

"His clinical situation has become more complex," General Christian Estripeau told reporters.

"President Arafat remains in the Percy Military Training Hospital," he said, reading from a brief statement.

"The patient's condition needs appropriate treatment which required his being transferred to a unit suited to his pathology on the afternoon of Wednesday November 3," he said.

"Mr Arafat is not dead," Estripeau said.

The general did not stay to answer questions. Israeli media and Luxembourg's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, said minutes earlier that the 75-year-old Palestinian Authority president had died in the Percy hospital.

But a Juncker aide said that the Luxembourg leader subsequently retracted his comment.

Arafat had been taken to the hospital last Friday in an emergency medical evacuation from his West Bank headquarters.

French medical sources and Palestinian officials said Thursday that Arafat's health had deteriorated dramatically Wednesday and he was in intensive care in a "critical condition".

Reports from some medical sources that Arafat was in a coma and on life support were denied by Palestinian officials, however.

French President Jacques Chirac briefly visited Arafat late Thursday before going to an EU meeting in Brussels also attended by Juncker.

Once in Brussels, though, Chirac declined to answer questions as to whether Arafat was dead.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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