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Ben Ali reportedly in coma after stroke

President Mahmoud Abbas meets with the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis, Tunisia on August 8, 2006. Following the meeting Abbas told reporters that he discussed with Ben Ali the situation in both Palestine and Lebanon. He added that they focused on the developments after the UN Security Council draft resolution relevant to Lebanon. (UPI Photo/Omar Rashidi)
President Mahmoud Abbas meets with the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis, Tunisia on August 8, 2006. Following the meeting Abbas told reporters that he discussed with Ben Ali the situation in both Palestine and Lebanon. He added that they focused on the developments after the UN Security Council draft resolution relevant to Lebanon. (UPI Photo/Omar Rashidi) | License Photo

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Former Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali suffered a stroke and was in a coma in a Saudi Arabian hospital, a French online journalist reported.

Journalist Nicolas Beau, citing Tunisian sources, posted on his blog that Ben Ali was in critical condition in a medical facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Radio France Internationale reported Thursday.

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It is believed the ousted leader was admitted to the hospital Tuesday under a false name, the blogger said.

The claim that Ben Ali was hospitalized also was reported by Web-zine JSSnews, although it reported he suffered a heart attack, RFI said.

Ben Ali had ruled Tunisia for 23 years before a popular uprising forced him to flee the country in January.

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