Lebanon: Shi'ite sheikh hospitalized

July 2, 2010 18:04

Man said to be unofficial Hizbullah religious leader has hemorrhage.

Hizbullah supporters wave Hizbullah flags during a

Hizbullah supporters wave Hizbullah flags during a. (photo credit:AP)

BEIRUT— Lebanon's top Shi'ite cleric has been hospitalized after suffering complications from a liver problem, an official close to the influential sheik said Friday.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, 75, has been receiving treatment in a Beirut hospital for the past 12 days, but his condition deteriorated Friday after complications from a liver problem led to an internal hemorrhage, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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Fadlallah's office issued a terse statement saying the cleric has been hospitalized and is being treated by a medical team.

The Iraqi-born Fadlallah is an influential Shi'ite cleric in the region, with followings in Lebanon and in his native Iraq. He is one of the founders of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa party and serves as the spiritual guide for many key Shi'ite leaders in Iraq.

The sheikh was born in Iraq in 1935 and moved to Lebanon in 1966 after completing his religious education in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

He is also considered by many to be the unofficial spiritual leader of Hizbullah, a claim that he and Hizbullah have both denied.

Fadlallah, a harsh critic of US policies in the Middle East, is known to suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.
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