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PA’s Abbas lands in Qatar for World Cup kick off, amid outcry over his travel costs

Unverified leaked documents purported to show he intended to fly with huge entourage, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in hotel bills

File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (center), arrives to attend the closing ceremony of Arab summit in the Algerian capital Algiers, on November 2, 2022. (Fethi Belaid / AFP)
File: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (center), arrives to attend the closing ceremony of Arab summit in the Algerian capital Algiers, on November 2, 2022. (Fethi Belaid / AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha, Qatar on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, as he faced backlash at home for the reported exorbitant costs of his trip.

Abbas and his entourage were welcomed at the airport by the PA’s Ambassador to Qatar Munir Abdullah Ghannam and Qatari businessman Sheikh Fahad Bin Faisal Bin Thani al-Thani.

WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, with a highlighted section dedicated to covering the daily activities of Abbas, did not report his trip to Qatar.

His trip followed an outcry at home over leaked documents purportedly showing the embattled leader traveling to Qatar with a large entourage of close family members and aids. The documents, which appeared earlier this month but were not independently authenticated, also showed hotel bills of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The papers first appeared on social media pages associated with Hamas, the terror group that rules the Gaza Strip since ousting pro-Abbas forces in 2007.

Based in the West Bank, the PA has increasingly become unpopular over accusations of corruption, silencing of critics, and mismanagement that exasperated its financial crisis.

The 2022 World cup in Qatar kicks off Sunday evening, with Qatar going up against Ecuador.

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