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Leaders check Arafat; Officials from Palestine to see doctors.


PALESTINIAN leaders are to fly to Paris to consult doctors about Yasser Arafat's condition, a senior official said last night.

Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said that he would leave for Paris with Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia or Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organisation -- or possibly both of them.

Qureia and Abbas have been co-ordinating efforts to prevent chaos and violence if Arafat dies.

Arafat was flown to a hospital outside Paris on October 29, suffering from an unknown ailment. Since then there have been conflicting reports about his condition -- some saying that he was in a coma and near death, while others said he was improving under treatment.

Shaath denied reports that spoke of liver failure.

He added: ``There is no basis of truth for reports that we want to move him from Paris to Cairo. ''

Meanwhile Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief, was heading back to the West Bank from France with a message for the leaders from Arafat's wife, Suha, one of the few people with access to the ailing leader.

Arafat's death and burial are potentially explosive issues.

Israeli Defence Minister ShaulMofaz told the Israeli Cabinet yesterday that the military is preparing for possible violence in the event of his death and would send in reinforcements.

Palestinians officials say Arafat has expressed a wish to be buried at a hotly-disputed holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Al Aqsa Mosque compound lies on top of the ruins of biblical Jewish temples.


Palestinian policemen walk past a poster of Arafat in Gaza city yesterday; Picture: MURAD SEZER
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2004
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