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Iraq's president said to be in coma

Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:53 PM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Iraqi officials said Tuesday that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was in critical but stable condition after suffering a stroke late Monday.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told al-Arabiya the situation for Talabani, 79, was stabilized. The Arab broadcaster quoted an unnamed government official in Baghdad as saying Talabani was in "critical but stable condition" in a hospital in Baghdad.

The BBC cites Kurdish sources who said Talabani is in a coma. A presidential statement obtained by the BBC said Talabani had a health emergency that was related to "fatigue and tiredness" from working on national consensus issues in Iraq.

A string of attacks in Iraq and the semiautonomous Kurdish north prompted U.N. officials to express concern about Iraq's internal dynamics. Political tensions have simmered in Iraq at least since U.S. forces left the country in December 2011.

"It is clear that these terrorist attacks, which have intensified just before the first anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S troops in Iraq and at a time when the tensions have already escalated in the country, target the unity of the brotherly people of Iraq," a statement from the Turkish government read.

Adnan Pachachi, a veteran Iraqi politician who joined the interim government after the U.S. invasion in 2003, told al-Arabiya that Iraq was a "failed state."

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