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Abbas released from hospital after eight-day stay

Palestinian president says he will return to work on Tuesday following a bout of pneumonia
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves after he leaves hospital, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, 28 May, 2018.(Reuters)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was released from hospital on Monday after an eight-day stint during which he received treatment for pneumonia.

"Thank God I am leaving the hospital in good health and I will return to work tomorrow," Abbas told reporters as he left Istishari Arab Hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

"I thank the leaders, kings, politicians, presidents, brothers - Arab and non-Arab - who have kindly asked about me, and I am thankful to all."

Despite his regular bouts of ill health, Abbas’s latest stay prompted much speculation that the 82-year-old Palestinian president was no longer healthy enough to continue in office.

As Middle East Eye reported earlier, Palestinian officials began jockeying for positions of power as Abbas recovered in hospital.

Medical sources in the hospital told MEE that Abbas was suffering from a number of debilitating ailments, not only pneumonia.

A photograph of Abbas reading a newspaper in hospital was released last week

Abbas, a famous chain smoker, was originally admitted on 20 May for complications related to an ear operation.

Officials later said he was being treated for pneumonia and had been placed on a respirator and was taking antibiotics intravenously.

Last week images of the president strolling around the hospital in a smoking jacket and reading a newspaper were released.

On Monday, Abbas left the hospital smiling and dressed in a suit, keen to stress he would return to work the next day.

Abbas won a four-year term in the presidency in 2005 elections, yet has remained in office ever since with no fresh elections held since.

There is no clear successor to replace the president, and a schism between Abbas’s Fatah and the Hamas movement, the two most prominent Palestinian parties, has broken the mechanisms of the transfer of power, adding to the uncertainty were he to stand down.

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