Ex-Mossad chief’s health reportedly in peril after liver transplant in Belarus

Hospital staffs fear for Meir Dagan’s life, source in Minsk tells Maariv

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, May 2011. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, May 2011. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was in serious condition Wednesday after receiving a liver transplant in a Belarusian hospital, a source in the medical center told Maariv.

The hospital official said Dagan’s temperature was rising and that he was being treated in the intensive care unit. Dagan successfully underwent the liver transplant last week, but complications resulting from the surgery began thereafter.

His relatives told the paper, however, that his condition was serious but stable.

The ex-spy chief was anesthetized and hooked up to a ventilator, according to a friend who accompanied Dagan to Belarus.

News of Dagan’s transplant broke on Tuesday after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he was being treated in Minsk.

According to Ynet, Dagan’s associates fear his safety was compromised by Lukashenko’s announcement, and that Dagan could now be targeted by Hezbollah, Syria, or Iran. They added that Israel may demand increased security on the hospital.

The transplant was reportedly performed by Dr. Daniel Azoulay of the Paris transplant center; senior Israeli doctors assisted.

American and German doctors were asked to perform the operation, but “no one wanted to carry out a liver transplant operation on a former head of the Mossad,” Lukashenko said.

Channel 2 reported that Dagan had been set to undergo the surgery in India, but that the Indian authorities ultimately refused to treat him because of his Mossad past.

The reports did not say why Dagan needed to leave Israel in order to receive the transplant, or what necessitated the replacement of his liver.

Dagan resigned as head of the Israeli spy agency in 2010, and has since been a leading public critic of what he called the “stupid” idea of Israel striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, considering such action at this stage as dangerously premature.

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