Doctors say Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is likely to spend up to four days in hospital after he suffered a minor stroke. However his life is not thought to be in danger.
The 77-year-old is battling for re-election after leaving his Likud party last month. Sharon fell ill on Sunday afternoon. He was rushed to hospital where medics say his lost consciousness for a few moments and tests revealed a minor stroke.
Spokesman Raanan Gissin said there is no panic: “I’m not a doctor, all I can say to you is that the prime minister is fully conscious, lucid, talks to everyone.”
Sharon’s been inundated by goodwill messages from around the world. Wellwishers are concerned that he has been taken ill at such a crucial moment.
Said one man: “I think it’s a bit scary, it reminds me of an old scenario.” And a woman added: “It’s a pity that he is hospitalised because we were actually in my opinion on a kind of curve where all the chances were given to him.”
Sharon quit Likud last month in the face of continued far-right rebellions over the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.
He has formed a new centrist movement, Kadima, with a vow to pursue peace with the Palestinians.