Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is headed to Germany to undergo “medical treatment,” according to media reports.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is headed to Germany to undergo “medical treatment,” according to sources quoted by French news agency AFP.
According to Kan news, officials close to Abbas described the trip as “routine.”
The 85-year-old leader has received treatment in Germany in the past, the Times of Israel reported, most recently during an official visit in August of 2019.
What we know so far
Abbas took off from Ramallah in a helicopter, Palestinian media reported.
Following a short layover in Jordan, the Palestinian leader is set to travel on to Germany, AFP reported, citing sources within his office.
During his trip, Abbas will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
The German government did not immediately comment on whether a meeting would take place.
Following his treatment, he will return on Thursday, AFP reported.
The nature of Abbas’ medical treatment was not specified, although the heavy smoker was hospitalized for pneumonia in 2018.
He received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine last month.
Palestinians to hold first elections in years
The news comes just weeks before Palestinians are set to head to the polls for the first elections in the territory in 15 years.
Legislative elections are set to take place on May 22, followed by a presidential election on July 31.
It remains to be seen whether the elections will take place as planned, due to disputes with Hamas and divides within Abbas’ own Fatah party.
Abbas was elected as the head of the Palestinian Authority in the last election in 2005. It is unclear whether he will run again as a candidate.