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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Intensive Care

Israeli medical officials say former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been taken to an intensive care unit after his overall condition and heart function deteriorated.

The 78-year-old former leader has been in a coma since suffering a major stroke on January 4.

A hospital spokesman says Mr. Sharon has contracted an infection that is affecting his heart and will receive treatment to combat the infection. The hospital official said Mr. Sharon's condition is stable.

In July, Mr. Sharon entered the intensive care unit so doctors could remove excess fluids that accumulated as a result of kidney failure.

The former leader has also undergone several operations to stop bleeding in his brain caused by the stroke.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.