RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup, the Qatari news agency reported, on an unannounced visit by the Palestinians.
Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, with a prominent section dedicated to covering Abbas’s daily activities, did not report his trip to Qatar.
This apparently followed a protest at home over leaked documents purporting to show the embattled leader traveling to Qatar with a large entourage of close family members and aides. The documents, which surfaced earlier this month but were not independently authenticated, also showed hotel bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The documents first appeared on social media pages associated with Hamas, the militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since it ousted pro-Abbas forces in 2007.
Based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has grown increasingly unpopular over allegations of corruption, silencing of critics and mismanagement that exasperated its financial crisis. Hamas, which runs Gaza under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and repeated conflicts with Israel, is faring no better.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar begins on Sunday.