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Mahmoud Abbas heart test results 'normal'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has undergone heart tests after being rushed to hospital suffering from chest pains and exhaustion.

Dr Mohammed Al-Batrawi, a heart specialist who treated the 81-year-old, said he went through a number of routine tests, including a cardiac catheterisation - a procedure in which a tube is inserted into a blood vessel leading to the heart.

He said Mr Abbas's arteries looked healthy and the test results were normal.

A Palestinian official close to the 81-year-old said the leader, who has a history of health issues, was taken to hospital after feeling unwell at his Ramallah office.

The health scare drew attention to the chaotic leadership situation in the Palestinian territories - which have no succession plan for the ageing leader and are torn between two rival governments.

Mr Abbas was elected president in 2005 for what was supposed to be a four-year term. But in 2007 the rival Hamas militant group seized control of the Gaza Strip, and Mr Abbas has remained in power since then.

The Palestinians are now divided between two governments, Mr Abbas's Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza. Attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and this week the Palestinians called off plans to hold municipal elections in the two territories.

Mr Abbas, who is a heavy smoker and overweight, was treated years ago for prostate cancer and has had a stent inserted to treat artery blockage.


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