BEIRUT

Middle East

Ex-PM Sharon's condition unchanged

In this Sunday Jan. 30, 2005 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

TEL AVIV: The condition of Israeli former prime minister Ariel Sharon, described Friday as in a "slow, gradual" decline after eight years in a coma, was unchanged Saturday, public radio said.

"At this time we cannot report any change in the condition of former prime minister Ariel Sharon," the station reported from Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv.

Sharon is reportedly nearing death, with the 85-year-old's health worsening Wednesday as he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery.

"Tests show a slow, gradual deterioration in the functioning of his vital organs... His state has not changed. He's still in critical condition, and his life is in danger," Tel Hashomer hospital director Zeev Rotstein was quoted by public radio as saying Friday in the last official bulletin on his condition before the Jewish sabbath.

"I don't think the situation will improve with time, and we know what usually happens in cases like this," he added, suggesting that Sharon might die soon.

Rotstein said there were traces of infection in Sharon's blood, and that it had not been possible for him to undergo renal dialysis since his other organs were in such a fragile state.

News website Ynet quoted medical sources Wednesday as saying Sharon was taken into intensive care a month ago. His health then stabilised but suffered a "significant deterioration" over the past few days.

The long-time leader of the rightwing nationalist camp in Israeli politics suffered a massive stroke on January 4, 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.

 

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