Former Israeli President Shimon Peres suffers stroke

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Former Israeli president Shimon Peres has been rushed to a hospital following a stroke. The 93-year-old had received medical attention earlier in the year already after suffering heart trouble.

Shimon Peres was admitted to to Intensive Care at the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv “after suffering a stroke,” his office confirmed in a statement. Doctors said that the stroke had caused “a lot of bleeding”.

An initial statement said that the former president’s condition was “stable” but later reports suggested a decline in health, with his press office confirming that Peres had been put under an induced coma and was only breathing with the help of a respirator. Israeli TV station Channel 2 meanwhile reported the stroke as “significant” and “serious.”

One of the doctors treating the politician told the TV station Peres had regained consciousness.

“He is on a respirator and lightly sedated but is conducting actions, what is called in medical terms ‘simple actions’ and is not currently unconscious,” Dr. Shlomi Matezsky said.

 According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the head of of the hospital’s stroke unit stated that “the damage isn’t the main issue currently.”

“We’re working on getting him to a state in which his life won’t be in jeopardy,” Dr. David Orion said.

Peres’ son Chemi told journalists that “we are going to have to take difficult decisions apparently later, but not yet.”

Peres had extensive heart surgery earlier in the year and received a pacemaker after having what was then described as a “mild cardiac event.”

Israel’s last surviving founding father

Peres served as prime minister for eight months after the assassination of Premier Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and also for a brief term between 1984 and 1986, under a rotation agreement with Yitzhak Shamir. He later was elected Israel’s ninth president, serving between 2007 and 2014.

Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for signing the 1993 interim Oslo peace accords. Peres is the last surviving founding father of the state of Israel.

In a message on Facebook, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Peres a speedy recovery.

“Shimon, we love you and the entire nation wishes you get well,” he said.

ss/rc (AFP, dpa)