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Peres ‘fighting for his life’ as condition worsens

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres is widely respected both in Israel and abroad (AFP Photo/Etienne Laurent)

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres is widely respected both in Israel and abroad (AFP Photo/Etienne Laurent)<br />

Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres was “fighting for his life” on Tuesday after suffering a stroke earlier this month, a source close to him said.

“The president is fighting for his life,” the source told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “His health position is very, very difficult. His doctors are worried about his health.”

Peres, 93, has held nearly every major office in Israel, serving twice as prime minister. He was also president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014.

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

The former hawk turned dove — the last of Israel’s founding fathers — is widely respected both in Israel and abroad.

He suffered a stroke on September 13 and has been hospitalised near Tel Aviv since then.

On September 18, Peres’s office said doctors planned to gradually reduce his sedation and respiratory support to judge his response.

His personal physician and son-in-law Rafi Walden had said at the time that Peres had seen “very slow, moderate improvement”.

In January, Peres was hospitalised twice because of heart trouble.

In the first instance, the hospital said he had suffered a “mild cardiac event” and underwent catheterisation to widen an artery.

He was rushed to hospital a second time just days later with chest pains and an irregular heartbeat.

Peres has sought to maintain an active schedule despite his age, particularly through events related to his Peres Center for Peace.

When leaving hospital on January 19, Peres said he was keen to get back to work.

“I’m so happy to return to work, that was the whole purpose of this operation,” he said.

In March, he met British supermodel Naomi Campbell at his Peres Center for Peace during an event linked to International Women’s Day. On the same day, he met visiting US Vice President Joe Biden.

After suffering the stroke this month, he received an outpouring of support from across the world, including from Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, the Clinton family, Donald Trump, Britain’s former premier Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has said he was hoping Peres made a “swift and full recovery”, calling him “tireless in seeking peace between Israelis and Palestinians”.

Peres once confided that the secret to his longevity was daily exercise, eating little and drinking one or two glasses of good wine.

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