CAIRO Egypt's president, who had surgery a week ago, is returning steadily to health in the German hospital where he is being treated, state television reported Saturday.
"We expect the President to transition from the therapy stage to a regular diet gradually," state television said. It quoted Egypt's health minister Hatem el-Gabaly as saying Mubarak's health condition was steadily improving.
Hosni Mubarak, 81, who has ruled Egypt for almost three decades, had his gall bladder removed in the surgery last Saturday, the official Middle East News Agency said, and was transferred from the intensive care unit Wednesday.
The German hospital where he is being treated said on Thursday the tissue removed during the operation was benign.
As on other occasions when he has had medical treatment, the latest incident has sparked some rumors about his condition.
A statement by Dr Markus Buechler of Heidelberg University Hospital, issued via the Egyptian government Thursday, said: "President Mubarak's overall medical condition continues to improve in a satisfactory manner." [nLDE62A1W4]
The statement did not say when Mubarak would be discharged.
Mubarak, who has never appointed a vice president since he took over power in 1981, handed powers temporarily to his prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, before the operation. His family joined him in Germany.
Mubarak has not said if he will run again for a sixth six-year term in the 2011 presidential election. Many Egyptians believe that, if he does not, he will seek to hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46. Both Mubaraks deny any such plan.
(Writing by Shaimaa Fayed; editing by Philippa Fletcher)