Sharon’s condition quickly improved after mild stroke

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a mild stroke Sunday, but his condition quickly improved, and his doctor said he was expected to be hospitalized for a few days. Aides said Sharon remains in control of the government.Sharon never lost consciousness, said Yuval Weiss, deputy director of Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital. The premier was expected to be released after undergoing tests, he said.

"Initial checks showed he had a light stroke, and during checks, his condition improved. He was always conscious and didn't need any surgical intervention."

Sharon's personal physician, Dr. Bolek Goldman, said the prime minister, who is 77 and extremely overweight, would be hospitalized "for a few days."

"Unequivocally, there is no damage," Goldman said.On the streets of Gaza City, some masked Palestinian militants fired into the air and handed out pastries in apparent celebration of Sharon's health crisis. Aides to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called Sharon's office to check on his condition and wish him a speedy recovery.

The prime minister has been a fixture of Israeli politics for more than three decades. Last month, he broke away from his hard-line Likud Party and formed the centrist Kadima faction to contest March 28 parliamentary elections.

Kadima, which has a commanding lead in the polls, is built around Sharon, and it is unclear what would happen if he is too ill to campaign. If Sharon is incapacitated, Vice Premier Ehud Olmert would take over the government. Sharon had just finished a Sunday evening meeting with government officials to discuss poverty when he felt weak, Israeli media reported. All nearby roads were closed down, and the premier was rushed to the hospital emergency room in his official vehicle, media reports said, reports the AP. I.L.

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