Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pulled through emergency surgery and doctors say his condition remains critical, but his life is not in immediate danger.
Mr. Sharon is in the intensive care unit of Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital after several hours of emergency surgery to repair damage to his intestines.
Speaking through a translator, hospital director Shlomo Mor-Yosef briefed reporters.
"His present condition is difficult, it's stable, it's critical, but there is no immediate danger to his life," he explained.
Mor-Yosef said doctors removed about one third of Mr. Sharon large intestine, which was inflamed and infected.
Mr. Sharon has lain unconscious in Hadassah hospital since he suffered a massive stroke January 4.
Hospital director Mor-Yosef said the current complications are not unusual for someone in a coma.
"It is important to emphasize that the general problem is his coma. It's not his abdominal pain," he said.
Asked about the chance that Mr. Sharon would awaken from his coma, Mor-Yosef said that all possibilities remain open, but added that with each passing day the chances diminish.
Mr. Sharon's sudden illness in early January shocked Israelis, most of whom saw in him a strong leader who could restore a sense of security after more than five years of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
His second in command, Ehud Olmert, took over the reins of government as interim prime minister when Mr. Sharon was incapacitated and has vowed to continue Mr. Sharon's policies.