Palestinian Leader Abbas's Surgery Is Successful, Wafa Says

(Bloomberg) -- 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.

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