Palestinian leader Abbas leaves Ramallah hospital after 9 days

Palestinian leader Abbas leaves Ramallah hospital after 9 days

PA president, 83, suffered a bout of pneumonia, sparking a wave of rumors about his health

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was released from a hospital in Ramallah on Monday where he had been for treated over a week, ending rumors about his medical condition.

Leaving the hospital flanked by his two sons and Palestinian officials, Abbas said he was well and would be returning to work on Tuesday. He was walking without assistance.

Abbas, 83, had been hospitalized with pneumonia during which doctors refused to confirm a schedule for his release.

Pictures and video of Abbas walking around the wards and reading a newspaper were published last Monday, in an apparent attempt to calm rumors that his condition was worse than officially reported.

Abbas was admitted on May 20 to the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the West Bank with complications following an ear operation, including high fever.

Officials later confirmed he was being treated for pneumonia.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas walking in the hospital on May 21, 2018 (screen capture/Twitter)

His extended hospitalization led to widespread speculation over his condition, particularly with no successor publicly in line for the PA presidency.

Abbas, who is a heavy smoker and overweight, has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a bout with prostate cancer a decade ago.

In February, he underwent what were described as routine medical tests in the United States.

Abbas won a four-year term as PA president in 2005, but he has since remained in office without further elections.

Abbas argues the split between his Fatah party and Islamist terror group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has made elections politically impossible.

A relative moderate, he has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is increasingly poorly regarded by Israelis, including because of several recent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speeches. He is also unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.

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