Israel's Shimon Peres suffers 'mild' heart attack

JERUSALEM -- Israel's 92-year-old former President Shimon Peres suffered a "mild" heart attack Thursday but was in "excellent" condition following a heart procedure, his personal physician said.

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Peres was rushed to a hospital near Tel Aviv from his home on Thursday morning after he fell ill with chest pains and a check-up found an irregular heart rate, his spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch told Israeli Army Radio.

His personal physician Raphi Walden said Peres had a "mild heart attack" but that "his condition is excellent" following a successful cardiac catheterization.

"I would like to calm the people of Israel," Walden told reporters outside the Tel Hashomer hospital. "He feels very well and he is awake. He was awake the whole time and he is only worried about the continuation of his schedule."

Walden said that Peres was expected to stay in hospital for "a few days."

"We expect that within a short time he will return to normal," he added.

Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 following the signing of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians a year earlier, a prize he shared with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was later assassinated, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The prize earned him his stature abroad as a revered statesman.

Peres completed his seven year term as president in 2014 and remains in the public eye. He is still active through his non-governmental Peres Center for Peace, which promotes coexistence between Arabs and Jews and peace and development in the Middle East.

Peres has filled nearly every position in Israeli public life since he became the director general of the Defence Ministry at the age of 29 and spearheaded the development of Israel's nuclear program. A protege of the country's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, Peres was first elected to parliament in 1959.

He has since held every major Cabinet post -- including defence, finance and foreign affairs -- and served three brief stints as prime minister in 1977, 1984 and 1995.


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