Arafat medical test finds no major ailment
Yasser Arafat underwent a minor diagnostic procedure on Monday and doctors found no major ailment after a week of concerns over the Palestinian president's health, a cabinet minister said.
Another senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Arafat, 75, was "still in a weakened condition and under medication". But the official, who said he had spoken to Arafat, gave no indication the problem was life-threatening.
Doctors carried out the endoscopy after Arafat complained of a stomach ailment and had been vomiting, officials said.
"The endoscopy showed that Arafat has no major ailment," Palestinian Telecommunications and Technology Minister Azzam al-Ahmad told Reuters after leaving the president's West Bank headquarters, where the procedure was performed.
In an endoscopy, a small scope is inserted into the body to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ. It is also used in minimally-invasive surgery and usually causes only mild discomfort.
"(Arafat) is under the influence of an anaesthetic and is in a stable condition," said a third senior official, who asked not to be identified.
Arafat's physicians had said he was suffering from an acute viral infection after he displayed flu-like symptoms.
Earlier, Palestinian officials denied an Israeli report that Arafat might be taken to hospital in Ramallah, the Israeli-encircled West Bank city where he has been effectively confined to his Muqata headquarters for more than two years.
Israel's Channel Two television said on Saturday that Egyptian and Tunisian doctors who examined Arafat at his compound concluded he was suffering from gall stones and had an intestinal infection.
An Israeli security source said Arafat had received permission from Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz to seek medical treatment in a Ramallah hospital.
But Palestinian cabinet minister Jamil al-Tarifi said before news of the endoscopy that Arafat's health had improved and he did not require hospitalisation.
Israel has said Arafat could leave the West Bank at will but it would not guarantee his return. It has accused him of fomenting anti-Israeli violence in an uprising that began in 2000, an allegation Arafat has denied.