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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Mahmoud Abbas admitted to hospital for third time in a week

The Palestinian president is said to have pneumonia 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas adresses the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Mr Abbas is hospitalised in the West Bank, doctors and Palestinian officials say. Abbas Momani / AFP 
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas adresses the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Mr Abbas is hospitalised in the West Bank, doctors and Palestinian officials say. Abbas Momani / AFP 

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas remained in hospital on Monday, a spokeswoman said, a day after being admitted with complications following an ear operation.

A spokeswoman for the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank said the 83-year-old was doing well but there was no timeframe for his discharge as yet.

Doctors and Palestinian officials had given conflicting accounts of the leader’s condition on Sunday.

A Palestinian official told The National that Mr Abbas had been hospitalised to undergo "some checks" after a minor surgery last week.

Another Palestinian official, speaking anonymously because he was discussing the president's health, said Mr Abbas had pneumonia and was on a respirator and receiving antibiotics intravenously. He said he was conscious and lucid.

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It was the third time Mr Abbas, 82, had been hospitalised in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalised again briefly overnight on Saturday/Sunday with a high temperature, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Mr 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. Two years ago, he underwent an emergency heart procedure after suffering exhaustion and chest pains. He suffers from arterial plaque and has had stents implanted.

Two statements were issued by Wafa on Sunday. The first, half an hour after midnight, said Abbas had gone into hospital "for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at Al Istishari hospital in Ramallah. At the end of the tests, the results turned out to be excellent," the statement said, and Mr Abbas left hospital.

A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of Al Istishari hospital, Dr. Saed Sarahneh, said the results of the medical tests were "good" and that his medical condition was "reassuring".

A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the high temperature may have resulted from a failure of an ear inflammation to heal completely.

In February, Mr Abbas was hospitalised in the United States for medical checks during a trip to address the UN Security Council in New York.

Mr Abbas became Palestinian president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued U.S.-led peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.

He is also chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a position to which he was re-elected unopposed on May 4.

He has not designated a successor, and the Palestinians have not held presidential elections since 2005 because of the split between Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic militant Hamas, which rules Gaza.