Arafat Clings to Life As Condition Worsens

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A deeply comatose Yasser Arafat clung to life Tuesday after suffering another downturn, his major organs still functioning but his survival dependent "on the will of God," the Palestinian foreign minister said.

Palestinian leaders made preparations for Arafat's eventual death. They said they would bury Arafat at his sandbagged headquarters in the West Bank and turn the site into a shrine.

But the 75-year-old leader, whose condition has steadily worsened since he was flown to a military hospital outside Paris on Oct. 29, would not be removed from life support, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said.

"His brain, his heart and his lungs are still functioning and he is alive," Shaath said after he and other Palestinian officials met with Arafat's doctors, his wife and French President Jacques Chirac.

"He will live or die depending on his body's ability to resist and on the will of God," Shaath said.

Shaath's remarks at a news conference underlined that the Palestinian leadership was now in control of information about Arafat after days of confusing and often conflicting reports about his undisclosed illness. Palestinian officials had been denied access by Arafat's wife, Suha, who used France's strict privacy laws that give authority to the family.


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