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Arafat Aide Denies Palestinian Leader In Coma

4 November 2004 -- A top aide to Yasser Arafat today said the Palestinian leader is "not unconscious and not in a coma," disputing earlier reports.

Nabil Abu Rdeineh said reports the 75-year-old founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization had lost consciousness three times in the past 24 hours were "rumors." He said Arafat is in intensive care, but only because doctors say it is necessary in order to conduct tests.

"President Arafat is not in a coma, and all what you heard are complete rumors. President Arafat is in an intensive-care unit, because his doctors decided yesterday to carry out medical tests that cannot be done without this," Rdeineh said.

Arafat has been treated for an unspecified ailment in a military hospital outside of Paris since 29 October.

According to the only official bulletin on Arafat's health, he is suffering from an elevated white-blood-cell count and persistent problems of digestion.