A French-language Israeli newssite is reporting Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority, may have died of a heart attack.

The report is based on the Guysen Israel News’ sources and is

”We do not have any more information on the state of Arafat,”
the latest report said. ”The news of his death is still not confirmed.”

A report earlier in the day from Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Arafat’s condition was improving. Conflicting reports in recent days had him sick with everything from the flu to
heart failure.

The 74-year-old leader looked pale and tired during the ceremony to swear in an emergency cabinet Tuesday, and some reports say he needed prompting from his aides.

But Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat told the Associated Press news agency that Arafat had not suffered a heart attack, but was battling a stomach virus.

The Palestinian leader was not present at the first full meeting
of the new cabinet, held in a newly designed government headquarters in Ramallah yesterday.

He remains confined to his own compound in the city.
Ministers said they would present their program to the Palestinian Legislative Council today.

Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath says the new cabinet will try to achieve a ceasefire on both sides and will then implement as yet unspecified security measures.

A suicide bomb attack Saturday in the Israeli port city of Haifa, which left 19 dead, sparked renewed calls in Israel to eject Arafat.

Israel decided in principle to ”remove” Arafat after 15 people were killed in twin suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Sept. 9.

There has been speculation for some time about how long Arafat has left to live, even without interference from Israel. Some reports have suggested he suffers from the degenerative
Parkinson’s disease.

The British Guardian newspaper, quoting ”aides”, reported yesterday Arafat had suffered a slight heart attack last week but it had been kept quiet to prevent panic.

The Associated Press said Arafat’s personal physician was called to his compound Sept. 29 after fears he had been poisoned. But the doctor later said Arafat was suffering from a stomach flu
and he was in relatively good health.

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