Leader of Bosnian Muslims seriously ill

Bosnia's wartime president Alija Izetbegovic is in a serious condition after suffering from massive internal bleeding, doctors have said.

    Izetbegovic won worldwide sympathy during the Bonian war

    Izetbegovic, 78, was

    rushed to a Sarajevo clinic last week after he fainted at home

    and fractured four left ribs.

    He has already suffered two heart attacks in recent years.

    "Internal bleeding in the chest occurred this morning and

    continued during the day," said Ismet Gavrankapetanovic, the head of

    a medical team monitoring Izetbegovic, on Thursday.

    Heart problems

    The team "is currently considering surgery, which would be

    limited given the patient's chronic heart weakness and serious

    condition," he said without elaborating.

    A medical source added that surgery would be needed to save

    Izetbegovic's life.

    The former president has suffered a series of complications

    including respiratory and circulation problems since Tuesday.

    Elected chairman of Bosnia's collective presidency in 1990,

    Izetbegovic was a key figure during the country's 1992-1995 war.

    Failing health

    He won worldwide sympathy by running the government

    from sandbagged buildings during the three and a half year long

    siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serbs under constant threat of their

    artillery and sniper attacks.

    He held the Muslim seat in Bosnia's post-war presidency, which

    has a rotating chairmanship that also includes a Serb and a Croat


    Izetbegovic stepped down from the presidency in October 2000 due

    to failing health and his advanced age.

    He was fitted last year with a pacemaker by Slovenian

    cardiologists, and has received treatment for his heart condition in

    hospitals in Sarajevo and Saudi Arabia.



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