Accessibility links

Breaking News

Report: 'Arafat Opened His Eyes'

Doctors at a French military hospital near Paris say Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat remains in a coma, in critical but stable condition. Medical officials have not commented on an unconfirmed report circulating in Israel Saturday that says Mr. Arafat opened his eyes and is "communicating with his doctors."

An Internet site linked to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth says its report that Mr. Arafat "partially emerged" from his coma came from a senior Palestinian official who visited the 75-year-old leader's hospital room during the night.

A number of Palestinian officials said late Friday they were concerned by a lack of progress in doctors' efforts to revive Mr. Arafat, as well as attempts to determine the nature of his illness.

The Palestinian leader is believed to have slipped into a coma on Wednesday, several days after being airlifted to France from his headquarters at Ramallah in the West Bank, where he fell ill about a month ago. Mr. Arafat's aides have denied a swirl of speculative reports claiming he was afflicted with a variety of grave illnesses, but there has been no specific diagnosis by his doctors.

Since Mr. Arafat left for treatment in France, the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, and his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas have been sharing most of the president's official duties.