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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Spanish surgeon rushed to treat Castro-report

MADRID, Dec 24 (Reuters) - A renowned Spanish surgeon has been rushed to Cuba to treat ailing leader Fidel Castro, a Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday.

Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, travelled to the Caribbean island on Thursday aboard an aircraft chartered by the Cuban government, according to Spain's left-leaning El Periodico de Catalunya newspaper.

The plane carried medical equipment not available in Cuba in case the leader needs further surgery due to his progressively failing health, the newspaper reported.

Garcia Sabrido will carry out tests on Castro to see if he needs another operation after undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding in July, the newspaper said.

Officials at the Madrid hospital where Garcia Sabrido works declined to comment on the report. Cuban embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

Cuban officials say Castro is not dying and will return to public life. His absence from the public eye has fanned speculation he is too ill to govern the country he has run since toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista in a 1959 revolution.

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