Fatah officials denied rumors Thursday evening that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's health has deteriorated and that he has been rushed to a hospital in the US.
The rumor started on American website Jewish Insider, which reported that Abbas was hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after a short flight from New York, where he gave a speech to the UN Security Council earlier this week. During the speech, Abbas appeared to be unwell, further fueling the rumor.
Shortly after the report on Jewish Insider, Fatah released an official statement denying it.
Senior Fatah official Hussein Al-Sheikh said Abbas did go into the hospital, but it was to undergo routine checkups.
Seeking to dispel the rumors, Abbas said in an interview on Palestinian television that he had simply undergone medical checks, the results of which were positive. He is expected to return to Ramallah shortly.
"It was a good opportunity to be here to do some medical tests. Thank God all the results are positive and reassuring," he said without elaborating.
Abbas is 83 years old. Four months ago, he underwent catheterization at a hospital in Ramallah after feeling unwell.
Sources in Abbas's close circle insist his health condition is very good, but other sources claim there has been some deterioration in his situation over the past year.
The Palestinian president used to be a heavy smoker for many years and has recently switched to electronic cigarettes.