RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has mingled with ordinary Palestinians in a rare trip outside his West Bank headquarters in an apparent attempt to dispel rumors that he suffered a stroke.
The 82-year-old walked in the center of the city of Ramallah from 11:30 p.m. Tuesday until after midnight, greeting passers-by, holding a baby and sitting in a cafe. The outing was broadcast live on Palestine TV.
Earlier Tuesday, persistent rumors had circulated about Abbas having suffered a stroke. The Palestinian leader, a smoker, has suffered heart problems in the past, but his doctors have said he is fine.
Abbas frequently travels abroad to win support for the Palestinian quest for statehood, but rarely ventures out of his Ramallah compound when he is in the West Bank.