Abbas Being Kept in Hospital Despite Expected Release Today

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Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 22, 2018
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 22, 2018Credit: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being kept in a hospital in Ramallah, despite a statement announcing his planned release on Sunday at 2 P.M., the president's bureau said. No further details were given as to the reason of the delay.

A statement released by the medical director of Istishari Hospital said that Abbas' health "is improving rapidly." The medical staff is closely following his test results to determine the Palestinian leader's release date, he added.

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On Saturday, journalists and media outlets were invited to Istishari Hospital in Ramallah, as well as to the Muqata compound for a press conference set to follow Abbas' release on Sunday. A Palestinian media source told Haaretz that the Muqata began logistical preparations for the press conference and then suddenly announced its cancellation, asking the media crews to leave the compound.

Abbas was hospitalized on May 21 following minor ear surgery. He was reported to be suffering from a lung infection, and doctors said he was responding well to treatments. On May 22, Abbas allowed Palestine TV to film him in the hospital, where he is seen walking unassisted. Israeli Knesset member Ahmad Tibi (Joint List), a physician, said he visited Abbas, adding his condition has "markedly improved."

Abbas, 82, has been hospitalized three times in the last month, and reports of his health have been conflicted. He has suffered from various ailments in recent years and remains a heavy smoker.

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