ISLAMIC JIHAD leader Ramadan Shalah (left) meets with Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan in Tehran on Tuesday.
(photo credit: IRANIAN MEDIA)
Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shalah recently underwent heart surgery and his condition “is stable,” the terrorist group said in a statement on Tuesday.
Shalah, 60, became secretary- general in 1995 shortly after Islamic Jihad co-founder and former secretary-general Fathi Shikaki was assassinated in Malta.
“Islamic Jihad in Palestine confirms that Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shalah recently underwent a heart operation and that his condition is stable and he is receiving follow-up medical care,” the statement, posted on the Islamic Jihad-linked Palestine Today news site, said.
Islamic Jihad issued the statement after Quds Press, an Arabic news site, reported that Shalah had fallen into a coma a few weeks ago after suffering consecutive heart attacks and undergoing surgery in a Beirut hospital.
According to a source cited in the report, doctors said that Shalah “would not be able to return work even if he woke up from the coma.”
But the Islamic Jihad statement did not deny another part of the Quds Press article, based on a Fatah-affiliated source, that said a Palestinian security official in Beirut sent a report to the PA General Intelligence Services in Ramallah, indicating Shalah had been poisoned.
Earlier on Tuesday, however, Ahmad Mudalil, a Gazabased Islamic Jihad leader, told the Hamas-linked Palestinian Information Center that Shalah “is ill due to natural causes,” without elaborating.
Shalah has been based in Damascus for several years and is classified as a “specially designated terrorist” by the US government.
Israel considers Islamic Jihad a terrorist organization.
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