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Qatar’s former emir breaks leg in holiday accident

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Doha: Qatar’s former emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has undergone an emergency operation in Switzerland after breaking a leg while on holiday, the government said today.

The former ruler, known as the “Father Emir” in Qatar, was flown to Zurich on Saturday for treatment following the weekend incident, according to an official statement.

“Following a successful operation, his Highness the Father Emir is currently in Zurich recovering and undergoing physiotherapy treatment,” it said.

The royal family was thought to be holidaying at a Moroccan resort in the Atlas mountains, although it is unclear how the sheikh broke his leg.

The injury was confirmed by one of his sons, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad.

“For anyone who’s asking about the father Emir, he’s good and well, praise God,” he wrote on Twitter.

“He broke his leg and had surgery and now is in the physical therapy phase… Thanks for asking.”

A statement today from the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich said the former emir had undergone surgery on his left hip on December 26, in a procedure led by head physician Michael Leunig.

The clinic said the operation went smoothly and “without complication”.

The sheikh was recovering well and no further information would be given, it added.

It was reported yesterday that as many as nine planes belonging to Qatar’s royal family had landed in Switzerland over the weekend because of a suspected health emergency.

Swiss civil aviation authorities confirmed that a number of planes from the Qatari royal fleet had made unscheduled landings at the Zurich-Kloten airport.

According to Zurich’s Tages Anzeiger newspaper, the first Qatari plane, an Airbus, landed from Marrakesh shortly after midnight on December 26.

A second flight landed at Zurich-Kloten at 5:00 AM (0930 IST) the same day, with a third plane coming 15 minutes later, both having originated in Doha, the paper reported.

According to Tages Anzeiger, six more planes linked to the Qatari royal family and government landed in Zurich through the weekend. Sheikh Hamad, who celebrates his 64th birthday on January 1, ruled Qatar from 1995 to 2013, overseeing its transformation into one of the richest countries in the world.