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Abbas hospitalised after complications from minor surgery

It is the third time the Palestinian president has been admitted to hospital in one week
With no clear successor, the health of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is often a topic of speculation (Reuters)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was admitted to hospital in the West Bank for the third time in a week on Sunday due to complications after minor surgery last week, a Palestinian official said.

Abbas, 82, underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalised again briefly overnight from Saturday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

A Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas went back into hospital again later on Sunday because his temperature was high "so doctors advised that he go back into hospital".

The Israeli news site Ynet reported that Abbas was suffering from pneumonia and fever, citing a Palestinian source familiar with the matter.

With no clear successor identified, the health of the Palestinian president, a heavy smoker, who has led the Palestine Liberation Organisation since late 2004 and been president since 2005, is often a topic of speculation.

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

On Friday, Abbas did not attend an extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey, at which Muslim leaders discussed the opening earlier in the week of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, due to his ear surgery.

Abbas won presidential elections in 2005 but his Fatah party lost parliamentary polls to rival Hamas the following year. That set off tensions between them that escalated into a near civil war in 2007 as Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.

Elections have not been held since then, while Abbas has remained in power in the West Bank despite his term expiring in 2009.

'Excellent results'

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

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 Abbas left hospital.

A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of al-Istishari hospital, Doctor Saed Sarahneh, as saying  the results of the medical tests were "good" and that his medical condition was "reassuring".

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

He was re-elected unopposed as chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization on May 4.

In recent months he has cut off all ties with President Donald Trump's administration after the US announced that it would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move its embassy there.

The move was completed on Monday to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the state of Israel. However, it also occurred on the day Palestinians marked the Nakba, the expulsion of Palestinians by Israeli forces during Israel’s founding.

Over 60 Palestinians protesters were killed by Israeli troops during protests in Gaza on the day of the embassy’s opening.

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