Arafat Going Going.... Almost Gone

Yasser Arafat is “between life and death”, according to latest reports from Percy Medical Hospital in Paris. <BR><br/>

, | updated: 20:03

Yasser Arafat is "between life and death," according to latest reports from Percy Medical Hospital in Paris.

Most Arab leaders concede his condition is critical, but Arafat's liaison in Paris, Leila Shahid, insists his condition is reversible. She previously had denied for hours that Arafat was in a coma, but finally admitted it. Arafat's wife Suha said the Israeli media was lying by reporting he is in a coma.

The 75-year-old veteran terrorist and PLO leader fell into a coma Thursday evening. No one has authoritatively defined his illness beyond that he his suffering from blood poisoning and/or a growth.

Arafat is living on life-support systems. Thursday night reports of Arafat's death came to a halt when doctors at the French hospital contradicted an earlier statement by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg that Arafat was dead. The prime minister's spokesman called his first announcement "a regretful misunderstanding." U.S. President Bush responded to the premature announcement of Arafat's death saying, "May G-d bless his soul."

Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders held emergency sessions in Ramallah. PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia reportedly has been granted financial authority for urgent matters, such as paying salaries to more than 100,000 functionaries and security forces. In what, according to commentators, may evolve into a major power struggle, other voices in the PA denied his being granted control of finances. Qureia is traveling to Gaza Friday in an apparent attempt to prove that he is in full control.

However, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, while calling for intensifying terrorism, insisted their groups be involved in a coalition government. They say that they will field candidates for elections of a new leader.

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