Palestinian president expected to leave hospital Sunday: sources

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is expected to leave hospital on Sunday afternoon after a week of treatment for pneumonia, a Palestinian official and medical source said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity surrounding the 83-year-old’s hospitalisation at the Istishari Arab Hospital near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

One of the sources said his release could occur around 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

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 late Monday, in an apparent attempt to calm rumours that his condition was more serious than reported.

Abbas was admitted on May 20 with complications following an ear operation, including a high fever.

Officials have since confirmed he was being treated for pneumonia.

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.