Israeli PM Ariel Sharon briefly opens eyes

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Israeli media is reporting that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon opened his eyes for the first time since he suffered a major stroke on January 4, 2006.

However, hospital officials said the reports were generated by the Sharon family's "impression of eyelid movement, whose medical significance is unclear."

"He was listening to a tape of his grandson and you could see tears in his eyes for a matter of seconds before he closed them again," a doctor treating Sharon told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.

Army Radio, citing unidentified close associates of Sharon, say the Prime Minister could "recognize people around him."

However, hospital officials state that it is "too early to tell whether the development represented a significant improvement or was just a temporary reflex."

Sharon had undergone a tracheotomy on Sunday to help with his breathing and to help prevent infection from his respirator tube.

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