Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' release from hospital is delayed

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ discharge from a hospital has been delayed, reports said Sunday.

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The announcement came soon after Dr. Yasser Abu Safiyeh initially said Abbas, 83, would be discharged. No explanation was given for the sudden change in plans.

Abbas' medical condition was not immediately clear Sunday. 

His hospitalization was prompted by a high fever that followed recent ear surgery, Palestinian officials said. They said Abbas had pneumonia, was on a respirator and received antibiotics intravenously.

Abbas, who is a heavy smoker and overweight, has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a bout with prostate cancer a decade ago.

Because the leader has no deputy, his latest health scare revived anxiety over a potentially chaotic or even bloody succession battle.

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In 2005, Abbas won a four-year term as president, but has since remained in office without any further elections, Al Arabiya English reported

The Associated Press contributed to this report.