Palestinian Leader Abbas's Surgery Is Successful, Wafa Says

Updated on
  • Leader’s health raises prospect of coming succession battle
  • Palestinian officials deny rumors Abbas has stomach cancer

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent minor, successful surgery on his ear Tuesday, according to the Wafa news agency, an unannounced procedure that compounded worries about the 83-year-old leader’s health and the possibility of a fierce succession battle.

Abbas was already discharged from a West Bank hospital, Wafa said Tuesday afternoon, without giving further details.

The Palestinian leader’s health has become a cause of concern in recent months, and the absence of any clear successor has fueled concerns that his sudden death could leave a destabilizing power vacuum in the West Bank. Abbas was elected in 2005 for a five-year term, but after the Hamas militant group wrested control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, he has maintained power without holding elections.

The Associated Press reported in March that a cardiologist had moved into the presidential compound to monitor Abbas, who has had longstanding heart problems. In September he visited a Baltimore hospital after appearing weak during a United Nations address. He also is a prostate cancer survivor.

Palestinian officials have denied rumors that Abbas suffers from stomach cancer.

(Adds discharge from hospital in second paragraph.)
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