JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underwent successful hernia surgery on Sunday, but will require several days' rest to make a full recovery, aides and doctors said.
During the overnight procedure, which took around an hour and required general anesthetic, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon temporarily assumed the 63-year-old premier's powers, Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
Yaalon was also slated to head a cabinet-level meeting on Sunday to select Palestinian security prisoners for release as part of U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations, the second round of which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Jerusalem.
Yuval Weiss, director of the Jerusalem hospital where the surgery took place, said the operation was ordered at short notice as a precaution against Netanyahu's condition deteriorating. Netanyahu's office said he had been diagnosed after complaining of abdominal pain.
"The prime minister feels well after the operation," Weiss told Israel Radio. "He is now fully conscious."
A statement later issued by the prime minister's bureau said Netanyahu had reassumed his powers of office.
"I continue to constantly look after (Israelis') welfare and security," it quoted Netanyahu as saying.
Weiss predicted Netanyahu would be released by Sunday evening, but said he would require several days of home rest.
"He will be able to hold meetings and discussions at home. He has to be a little limited in terms of physical activity," he said.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; editing by Mike Collett-White)