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Arafat Collapses As His Health Worsens

October 27, 2004

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) _ Yasser Arafat collapsed Wednesday evening, was unconscious for about 10 minutes and remained in a ``very difficult situation,″ Palestinian officials said. A team of Jordanian doctors was urgently summoned to treat the ailing Palestinian leader.

Within hours, three senior Palestinian officials formed a special committee to run Palestinian affairs during Arafat’s illness, according to a Palestinian official in Arafat’s office.

The committee includes Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas, and Salim Zaanoun, head of the Palestinian National Council.

The committee was to run the PLO and the Palestinian Authority until Arafat recovers, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Arafat was eating soup during a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and another official between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. (2 p.m. or 3 p.m. EDT) when he vomited, according to a bodyguard who was in the compound at the time.

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