JERUSALEM, Jan. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a serious stroke with "massive bleeding" in his brain late Wednesday night, which drew concerns from leaders around the world.
In a brief statement outside Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef said Sharon had suffered a "significant stroke" and was "under anesthetic and receiving breathing assistance."
He said initial tests showed that Sharon had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding inside his brain.
The prime minister had "massive bleeding and was being transferred to an operating theater," Mor-Yosef said.
Meanwhile, Israeli Channel 2 TV said Sharon was suffering from paralysis in his lower body. Senior political sources feared that he might not recover from hemorrhage, and his aides said they were expecting a miracle.
Sharon was rushed to Hadassah Hospital shortly before 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night (2100 GMT) after feeling chest pains, less than three weeks after suffering a mild stroke.
He arrived by ambulance from his Sycamore Ranch in southern Israel, and was immediately taken into the emergency room. Both his sons, Gilad and Omri, were with Sharon when he was not feeling well, and they accompanied him to the hospital.
The prime minister was scheduled to undergo a heart procedure Thursday morning. He would undergo a general anesthetic and the entire operation process would take three hours.
Sharon's health condition has drawn concerns from world leaders, who delivered best wishes to him on Wednesday.
In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush praised Sharon as "a man of courage and peace" and said he was praying for the Israeli prime minister to recover from the massive stroke.
"On behalf of all Americans, we send our best wishes and hopes to the prime minister and his family," Bush said in a written statement. "Laura and I share the concerns of the Israeli people about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's health, and we are praying forhis recovery."
Earlier, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the prime minister and his family."
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana also wished for Sharon's recovery. "Solana is following the developments very closely and we can only wish the prime minister the best," said his spokeswoman, Cristina Gallach.
In Israel, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement,saying he was praying for Sharon's recovery and the success of his treatment.
Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who had recently left the Labor party to support Sharon's Kadima party, said: "I am praying for his recovery."
Sharon's senior advisor, Ra'anan Gissin, said: "I have been working with the prime minister for the last 10 years. I can tell you, he's a warrior, he's a real fighter. He's fought many battles in his life and won them all. We hope that he will win this battleas well."
Israel's chief rabbis called on Jews to recite psalms and pray for Sharon's health.
Chairman of the Shinui Party Yosef Lapid also wished the prime minister a quick recovery. "First of all, the whole nation -- both his friends, opponents and everyone else -- is worried and wishes him all the best and a quick recovery," he said.
Officials of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) expressed concerns over the future of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
"On a purely humanitarian level we feel sorry for Mr. Sharon. Politically it will increase the uncertainty we are facing to get back to the peace process and maybe this uncertainty will continue through March (when Israel holds a national election)," former PNA Minister Nabil Sha'ath said.
Meanwhile, Israel's cabinet said in a brief statement that it would meet for a special session on Thursday.
"The cabinet will convene at the Prime Minister's Office," it said.
The session would be convened under Israel's acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who assumed the power of Sharon after the Israeli leader was hospitalized.
Olmert, 60, who is also finance minister, would formally assume Sharon's duties at the meeting, Israeli television reported.
A day before Sharon suffered the serious stroke, Israel's Channel 10 TV said police had evidence that his family allegedly received 3 million U.S. dollars in bribes from Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff, part of a complicated case involving illegal campaign contributions.
The report said a document delivered by police to a court contained evidence of the alleged bribe.
An Israeli police officer said the investigation into the allegations would not be completed before the elections in March.
"We are now in a new phase of the investigation, but there's nochance that it will be finished before the elections," Israeli Army Radio quoted the unidentified police officer as saying.
Also on Tuesday, Netanyahu announced that four remaining Likud cabinet ministers would resign at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Health Minister Dan Naveh, Education Minister Limor Livnat, and Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz would formally submit their resignations at the Sunday meeting, Netanyahu said.
The four remaining Likud ministers made the decision to quit the cabinet after a meeting with Netanyahu on Monday at Likud's headquarters in Tel Aviv. Enditem