PARIS – Physicians specializing in the treatment of leukemia were examining ailing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Saturday to determine whether he suffers from the blood disorder, Palestinian sources said.
The 75-year-old Arafat has been sick for the past two weeks and blood tests have revealed he has a low platelet count — a possible symptom of leukemia, other cancers or a number of other maladies.
Arafat received a transfusion of platelets shortly after being rushed Friday to France for treatment at the Hopital d’Instruction des Armees de Percy, a military teaching hospital southwest of Paris that specializes in blood disorders and trauma care.
A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a strong possibility that Arafat was suffering from leukemia and that a team of French physicians specializing in the disorder had examined the Palestinian leader on Friday….
Israel long refused to guarantee that if Arafat leaves his Ramallah base he will be allowed to return — a refusal that kept the Palestinian leader pinned down in his compound. But Israel, concerned it would be blamed if his health condition worsened, lifted the ban on Thursday and promised to allow Arafat to return.