Stroke-hit Iraqi president Talabani rushed to hospital

Jalal Talabani in stable condition in intensive care unit, after suffering stroke and hardening of arteries.

Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, is in “stable condition” having suffered a stroke and a hardening of his arteries this morning, Iraqi state television says.

Talabani is being treated in the intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital after being rushed there on Tuesday morning, a statement from his office said.

“Tests show that his bodily functions are normal and his excellency’s condition is stable,” the statement said. “He is under intensive medical supervision.”

Earlier, a statement from Talabani’s office said that he had suffered a “health emergency”.

The Iraqi president has struggled with various health problems in recent years. He underwent successful heart surgery in the United States in August 2008.

A year earlier, he had to be flown to neighbouring Jordan to be treated for dehydration and exhaustion. He has also travelled to the United States and Europe for treatment for a variety of ailments.

Talabani survived wars, exile and in-fighting in northern Iraq to become the country’s first ever Kurdish president a few years after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi presidency is a largely ceremonial post, though it does retain some powers under Iraq’s constitution.

aljazeera.com