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Sharon Rushed to Hospital


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JERUSALEM Jan 4, 2006 ? Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital late Wednesday after feeling ill, hours before he was scheduled to undergo a procedure to correct a heart defect that contributed to his Dec. 18 stroke.

 

Sharon arrived by ambulance from his ranch in southern Israel and was taken into the emergency room, reporters at the scene said.

 

Israeli media reported that Sharon apparently suffered a second stroke or possibly a heart ailment, complaining of pressure or pain in his chest. Channel 2 TV said he was taken into the hospital on a stretcher.

 

An announcement by the prime minister's office said Sharon, 77, was taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo the heart procedure Thursday.

 

Sharon's office said his personal physician was with him, and the Israeli leader was fully conscious. He was being taken by ambulance, a drive of more than an hour from his ranch in the Negev Desert in Israel's south, instead of by helicopter.

 

Sharon is extremely overweight, but doctors checking him after the mild stroke found him otherwise in good health. Doctors said he would not suffer long-term effects from the stroke, but they discovered a birth defect in his heart that apparently contributed to the stroke.

 

Channel 10 News quoted Sharon's spokesman as saying the symptoms were not severe, and it reported that he was feeling pressure or pain in his chest. The TV station had a car following Sharon's entourage, transmitting live pictures from a cellular telephone of cars racing up the dark highway.

 

Another hospital, Soroka in Beersheba, is much closer to the ranch, and Israeli media were concluding that his condition was not serious. Channel 10 said the heart procedure might be advanced.

 

Since the stroke, Sharon has been taking blood thinners to try to prevent a recurrence of the clotting that caused the stroke.

 

Sharon was to check into the Jerusalem hospital on Thursday for the procedure repairing a tiny hole between the upper chambers of his heart. Doctors said the blood clot that briefly lodged in Sharon's brain on Dec. 18, causing the stroke, made its way through the hole and to a cranial artery.

 

Doctors plan to use a catheter to plant a patch on the hole, which is about one-eighth of an inch. Sharon is to turn over his authority to Vice Premier Ehud Olmert for about three hours while under general anesthetic and during recovery, Sharon's office said.

 

It will be the first time an Israeli prime minister has relinquished authority because of illness.

 

There was no official word on whether the catheterization would be performed on schedule.

 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1470634

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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.

 

It was Sharon's second stroke in less than three weeks.

 

On December 18, he was taken to the same hospital after suffering what doctors later determined was a minor stroke. He was placed then on blood thinners, which are associated with an increased risk of spontaneous brain hemorrhages.

 

He arrived there shortly before 11 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) in an ambulance and entered the hospital's trauma unit via the emergency room, said Ron Krumer, a hospital spokesman.

 

Israeli Channel 2 reported he was taken in on a stretcher.

 

Sharon's illness came after a full day of meetings, though he has trimmed his workload since December 18, Gissin told CNN.

 

Sharon's hospital admission came hours before he was to have undergone minor surgery Thursday for treatment of a small hole in his heart, which doctors have said led to the formation of a clot that caused him to suffer the December stroke.

 

Although Sharon had difficulty speaking during the mild stroke, neurological testing found that he recalled everything from the night of his admission, Dr. Chaim Lotem said.

 

Doctors said Monday that Sharon suffered no lasting brain damage. He was released from the hospital two days after the stroke and has resumed his work load.

 

With the elections near, many Israelis feel Sharon is the Israeli official best able to carry forward peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

 

This year Sharon orchestrated Israel's historic pullout from Gaza in hopes of jump-starting the peace process.

 

He recently broke with the conservative Likud bloc he helped found -- which did not support his pullout from Gaza and parts of the West Bank -- and is running for re-election as head of the moderate, newly formed Kadima Party.

 

Nicknamed "The Bulldozer" for his stamina during meetings and long working hours, he had not been in ill health prior to the stroke. The popular veteran military and political figure is widowed and lives alone.

 

Doctors have ordered the overweight prime minister to go on diet. Sharon's doctors said earlier this week that he weighed 118 kilograms (260.2 pounds) at the time of the stroke, and had lost 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) since then.

 

Sharon's doctors said then that his blood pressure and cholesterol levels were normal, though he has an underactive thyroid gland -- common in overweight people.

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Terrible news for both Sharon and Israel. And Palestine for that matter.

 

If Netanyahu or some other conservative jackass takes over in the elections because of this, it'll set back peace negotiations big time.

Well, forget about Israeli leadership. How about the fact that the PA can't seem to control their own people?

 

 

RAFAH, Gaza (AP) -- Hundreds of angry Palestinians streamed into Egypt on Wednesday after militants with stolen bulldozers broke through a border wall, while two Egyptian troops were killed and 30 were wounded by gunfire in the rampage.

 

About 3,000 Egyptian Interior Ministry troops who initially had no orders to fire swarmed the border but were forced to withdraw about a half-mile, said Egyptian security official Lt. Sameh el-Antablyan, who announced the casualties.

 

Gen. Essam el-Sheikh said Egyptian forces later began firing back.

 

The scene was one of utter chaos. An Egyptian armored vehicle was burning, and hundreds of Palestinians could be seen crouched in farm fields just inside Egypt.

 

The militants' rampage through the southern Gaza town of Rafah underscored the growing lawlessness in Palestinian towns, especially in Gaza, and represented the most brazen challenge to the authority of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Earlier, the Egyptian troops fired tear gas and shot into the air. A witness said three Palestinians were injured, one of them seriously, when a troop carrier crushed him against a wall.

 

Police imposed a curfew on the Egyptian side, all shops were closed, and authorities cut electricity, plunging the scene in near total darkness.

 

Abbas, who has condemned the chaos, has been unable to impose order, and his failure to keep the gunmen in check is expected to harm Fatah's prospects in January 25 parliament elections.

 

 

Sparked by arrest

The rampage began late Tuesday, after Palestinian intelligence arrested Alaa al-Hams, an Al Aqsa militant, on suspicion he and his followers kidnapped human rights activist Kate Burton and her parents for two days last week.

 

The Burtons were among 19 foreigners abducted by Fatah gunmen in Gaza in recent months. All have been freed unharmed.

 

Al-Hams' followers fired at the Palestinian security headquarters in Rafah, where he was held, briefly took over four government buildings, and then drove to the Rafah crossing, which was reopened last month after intense negotiations directed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

 

Firing in the air, they closed the entrance gate and told waiting passengers to leave. They set up an impromptu checkpoint, turning away travelers, but left the buildings and the crossing after three hours.

 

The militants then stole two bulldozers in Rafah and led an impromptu parade of hundreds of jubilant residents toward a wall a few hundred yards from the border. Five militants rode in the shovel of one bulldozer, while children held onto the back of the vehicle.

 

"We are going to do everything we can to pressure the authority to release our leader," said an Al Aqsa activist who gave his name as Abu Hassan.

 

The bulldozers smashed two holes in the towering concrete barrier at the same spot where Hamas militants had blasted through it during the border chaos that followed Israel's Gaza pullout in September.

 

Palestinian security officials had closed the earlier hole with a patch of heavy concrete blocks, but those quickly gave way to the bulldozer Wednesday.

 

Hundreds of Palestinians swarmed into the buffer zone as militants fired in the air.

 

"Many people walked through. The Palestinian police can't stop them," said Fawzi Shaheen, a 26-year old Rafah resident who ran toward the border.

 

Witnesses said as many as 1,000 Palestinians rushed into Egypt, but Egyptian Brig. Adel Fawzi, director of criminal investigations for North Sinai, put the number at 300.

 

There are large numbers of divided families in the region, and some used the chaotic situation as an opportunity to reunite with relatives.

 

 

Israel criticizes 'anarchy'

Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the unchecked crossings are a violation of the agreement Rice negotiated.

 

"We will deal with any terrorism that emanates from their territory, and we know how to deal with it," he said.

 

The Rafah crossing was handed to Palestinian control, under European supervision, as part of a U.S.-brokered deal with Israel last month. Since then, the crossing was forced to shut down several times during attacks by gunmen.

 

Israel threatened to close the crossing in coordination with European observers if the breach is not repaired, according to a complaint sent by the Defense Ministry to the United States and the Palestinians, the ministry said.

 

Israel also asked Egypt to arrest Palestinians who cross from Gaza through the breach. Israel has warned of militants and weapons entering Gaza now that Israel does not have control over the border.

 

Fatah-affiliated vigilantes demanding government jobs or the release of imprisoned friends have been responsible for much of the anarchy, particularly since Israel's pullout from Gaza.

 

"The Palestinian Authority is turning into the Palestinian Anarchy," Gissin told The Associated Press. "You have armed gangs that are controlling the fate of 3 million Palestinians."

 

The tightly run Islamic Hamas, whose followers have rarely been involved in vigilante violence, is expected to do well in the vote against the corruption-tainted Fatah.

 

American's parents targeted

Elsewhere, Palestinian gunmen burst into a Rafah house early Wednesday and tried to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed in 2003 as she protested the impending demolition of a house in the southern Gaza town, according to a witness.

 

The five gunmen appeared to be affiliated with the Fatah movement, according to Samir Nasrallah, the Corries' host. The gunmen eventually relented after being told who their targets were, he said.

 

Corrie, of Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 as she tried to stop it from demolishing Nasrallah's house.

 

Her parents, Craig and Cindy, have repeatedly visited Nasrallah since their daughter's death. They left Gaza safely after the attempted kidnapping, Nasrallah said.

 

Also Wednesday, Palestinians fired at least six rockets from Gaza at Israel, the military said.

 

In consultations at the Israeli Defense Ministry, it was decided to step up attacks against militant leaders in Gaza and maintain a closure on the West Bank and Gaza at least through the weekend, banning Palestinians from entering Israel.

 

 

Egypt, of all countries, was forced to fire on the Palestinians it was getting so bad.

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No, I think the Kassam rockets and behavior at the Gaza/Egypt border, not to mention the potential of Hamas winning the parliamentary election, are doing that quite well on their own.

 

Elsewhere, Palestinian gunmen burst into a Rafah house early Wednesday and tried to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed in 2003 as she protested the impending demolition of a house in the southern Gaza town, according to a witness.

 

And that, my friends, is what is known as IRONY! She so bought into the ideology that her parents got sucked into it too and, much to their surprise, are being abandoned by their "friends".

 

Oh, and BTW, the article fails to mention why the house was targeted for demolition in the first place.

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