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Arafat Overdue for Health Checkup

April 3, 2002

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AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Yasser Arafat says his health is good and morale is high, but his routine checkup is overdue and he needs an examination soon, a leading Jordanian neurologist who regularly examines the Palestinian leader said Wednesday.

Arafat ``told me his morale is high and his general medical condition is satisfactory, but his checkup is four months overdue and he requires one as soon as possible,″ Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi told The Associated Press.

Al-Kurdi said he spoke by telephone Sunday with Arafat, who is pinned down by Israeli troops and tanks in the West Bank.

Arafat, 72, is ``in good spirits and developments (in the West Bank) have had little affect,″ al-Kurdi said. He refused to discuss Arafat’s health further.

On Friday, Israeli forces stormed Arafat’s headquarters in the town of Ramallah and surrounded his office. Palestinian officials said Arafat had been left with little food and water, no electricity and no access to phone lines.

Several years ago, Arafat developed noticeable tremors in his lower lip. Doctors have said it was a nervous tic. Media reports have speculated he suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological disease.

Arafat undergoes routine physicals in Jordan.

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