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Israeli PM Netanyahu undergoes hernia surgery; is stable and awake

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Jerusalem, Apr 1 (PTI) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underwent successful surgery for a hernia on Sunday, at a time when discontent is growing against his government amid a bloody conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

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Netanyahu, 74, was put under full anaesthesia during the operation at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem leaving close confidante, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, in charge for several hours as acting premier.

Doctors and Netanyahu’s office said on Monday that the surgery had gone as planned and had been a success.

"He is awake, recovering and speaking with his family," Prof. Alon Pikarsky, the hospital’s director of general surgery, said.

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The PMO earlier said that the hernia was discovered during a routine checkup on Saturday evening, without disclosing its location in the body.

Netanyahu went around with his planned schedule on Sunday before the surgery, including a meeting with the families of female Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers held hostage in Gaza as well as the war cabinet meeting.

The Israeli Prime Minister underwent surgery last year to have a pacemaker installed after he suffered a “transient heart block”.

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The surgery came a week after he was hospitalized for what he said at the time was dehydration.

The incident led to considerable speculation among many in Israel regarding the health of the longest-serving Israeli prime minister.

Earlier last month, he missed several days of work after contracting the flu.

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A medical report released in January said that Netanyahu was in a “completely normal state of health”, that his pacemaker was working correctly and that there was no evidence of heart arrhythmia or any other problematic conditions.

Netanyahu is facing an increasingly hostile population with hundreds of thousands protesting against him on Sunday evening in Jerusalem, most of them demanding that he resign and fresh elections be held.

One of the most visible posters on the street yesterday in Hebrew said, "One who has spoilt cannot be expected to fix things. Immediate elections" with his picture on it. PTI HM ZH AKJ ZH ZH

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