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Mahmoud Abbas 'suffers from pneumonia, condition improving'

President of Palestinian Authority expected to stay 'several more days' in hospital', official says after visiting him.

Istishari hospital in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is suffering from pneumonia but his condition is improving, according to officials who visited him in hospital.

Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Knesset, said on Monday that he paid a visit to the 82-year-old leader at a hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

"He suffers from pneumonia and is treated with antibiotics," Tibi, who is also a doctor, wrote on Twitter.

Noting that Abbas's condition had "markedly improved", Tibi added: "He will spend several more days in the hospital. We discussed several political issues."

Abbas was hospitalised on Sunday with high fever, his third admission in a week. 

Appearing on official media, Saed Sarahna, the head of the Istishari Arab Hospital, said Abbas had an "infection in his right lung".

"He was given the necessary treatment and is now recovering," Sarahna said.

'Very good health'

Pictures of Abbas walking around the wards and reading a newspaper were also published, in an apparent attempt to calm speculation that his condition was critical.

Official media said he had spoken to a number of regional politicians to assure them of his health.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat spent several hours with Abbas on Monday and said he was in "very good health".

"He's recovering and doctors expect him to leave the hospital within the coming two days," Erekat said.

Abbas underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was released a few hours later and admitted to hospital briefly again on Friday, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

A heavy smoker, Abbas has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a bout with prostate cancer a decade ago.

He has not designated a successor, and the Palestinians have not held presidential elections since 2005 because of the split between Abbas' Fatah party and Hamas, which rules Gaza.

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