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Palestinian president could leave hospital soon: source

Palestinian president could leave hospital soon: source

RAMALLAH (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas could leave hospital soon after a week of treatment for pneumonia, a source close to him said on Sunday.

The hospital director however said no date had been set for his discharge.

A Palestinian official and a medical source earlier said Abbas could be released from hospital on Sunday afternoon.

But the source close to him said later doctors were still considering whether the 83-year-old s condition would allow for it.

His release Sunday “is not confirmed”, the source told AFP.

“It could be today or tomorrow (Monday). Most likely tomorrow,” the source added, on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity surrounding Abbas s hospitalisation.

Hospital director Saeed Sarahneh told official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Abbas s health was rapidly improving, but that no date was set for his discharge.

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

Officials have since confirmed he was being treated for pneumonia.

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

Pictures and video of Abbas walking around the wards and reading a newspaper were published last Monday, in an apparent bid to calm rumours that his condition was more serious than reported.

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

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

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

A moderate, he has been involved in decades of negotiations with Israel but is unpopular among Palestinians, with the majority wanting him to step down.

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