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Israeli PM to Assign Duties to Deputy Before Heart Operation

Israel says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will turn over his duties to his deputy before undergoing a heart procedure at a Jerusalem hospital on Thursday.

Deputy Ehud Olmert is expected to assume the prime minister's duties for about three hours, while doctors at Hadassah University Hospital administer general anesthesia to plug a tiny hole in Mr. Sharon's heart.

The hole was discovered after the 77-year-old leader suffered a mild stroke December 18. Cardiologists say Mr. Sharon did not suffer permanent damage from the stroke, and they say Thursday's procedure should prevent similar strokes in the future.

Some information for this story provided by AP.