Palestinian Prime Minister Hospitalized After Heart Attack

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad underwent an operation in Texas today after suffering a heart attack, his spokesman Jamal Zakout said.

A stent was inserted after tests showed blockage in Fayyad’s left coronary artery, his office said in a statement posted by the Wafa news agency.

A spokeswoman for the Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas, where Fayyad was taken, said the prime minister was doing well. “Mr. Fayyad is in good condition,” said Adrienne Lallo in a telephone call.

Fayyad, 59, was in Texas for his son’s graduation from the University of Texas at Austin. The prime minister is expected to be released from the hospital within a few days, according to his office’s statement. Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said that Fayyad’s condition was stable and there had been no news overnight.

A former World Bank and International Monetary Fund official, Fayyad was brought in as finance minister in 2002, when Yasser Arafat ruled the Palestinian Authority, to fight corruption and waste. He isn’t a member of the Fatah party and ran as an independent in the 2006 legislative elections.

“There’s a reason that Salam Fayyad was considered a breath of fresh air: He made it unambiguously clear that he was more interested in building up Palestine than tearing down Israel,” said David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Project on the Middle East.

Future Role

Fayyad has led the statehood building process in the countdown to September, when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state.

It isn’t clear if Fayyad will continue as prime minister in a new government expected to be formed following the reconciliation agreement signed this month between Abbas’s Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip. The U.S., European Union and Israel regard the militant group Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Fayyad earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and worked at the International Monetary Fund from 1987 to 2001.

To contact the reporter on this story: in Cairo at fhodali@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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