Palestinian sources: No change in Arafat's condition
PARIS, France (CNN) -- A source close to Yasser Arafat denied reports Wednesday that the Palestinian leader's condition has deteriorated sharply, but another official acknowledged that his condition remained "difficult."
"The situation is still difficult, and he's still undergoing treatment," said Mohammad Dahlan, who is part of the Palestinian delegation accompanying Arafat at a Paris hospital.
But Dahlan, and another source close to Arafat, said there was no change in the 75-year-old's condition.
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz said late Wednesday on its Web site that Arafat's health had "seriously deteriorated" overnight and that he was being moved to the intensive care unit of the French hospital where he was taken Friday.
Previous reports have indicated that Arafat is recuperating despite suffering from an abnormal blood count.
Palestinian officials have repeatedly denied reports that Arafat is facing leukemia.
Arafat arrived in Paris on Saturday after a team of doctors in the West Bank city of Ramallah said they had not been able to determine the cause of his illness.
On Friday, after a call from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel announced it would allow Arafat to go anywhere his doctors thought necessary and would allow him to return to his Ramallah compound.
Israel had confined Arafat there since 2002, accusing him of provoking suicide bombings and other violent acts in the Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000, charges that Arafat denies.
In the past, Israel has said it could not guarantee Arafat's safe return if he left his compound.
Qorei and former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas have assumed additional responsibilities during Arafat's absence, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said.
Abbas, secretary-general of the executive committee of the PLO, is acting chairman of the PLO, and Qorei, deputy head of the national security council, is acting head of the security committee, Erakat said.
He said Arafat approved the changes before leaving for France.