Qatar’s Father Emir flown to Switzerland to treat broken leg
With reporting from Heba Fahmy and Riham Sheble. Updated with photo of Sheikh Hamad in the hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 7:30pm.
Well wishes from the Qatar community have been pouring in for the Father Emir, who broke his leg while on holiday in Morocco and flew to Switzerland for emergency surgery over the weekend, according to a government statement.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 63, had been on vacation at a resort in the Atlas mountains, according to media reports.
An official from the Qatari government communications office confirmed the incident in a statement issued earlier today.
“On Saturday 26 December, His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani was flown to Zurich, Switzerland for emergency treatment after suffering a broken leg while on holiday,” read the government statement.
“Following a successful operation, his Highness the Father Emir is currently in Zurich recovering and undergoing physiotherapy treatment,” the statement said.
Sheikh Hamad’s son Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad tweeted about the incident last night, thanking those who expressed their concern.
Translation: “For anyone who’s asking about the father Emir, he’s good and well praise God. He broke his leg and had surgery and now is in the physical therapy phase…thanks for asking.”
On Tuesday evening, he also posted a photo of himself with Sheikh Hamad:
Yesterday, a Swiss civil aviation official told AFP that nine planes belonging to Qatar’s Emiri flight made unscheduled landings at Zurich-Kloten airport overnight from Dec. 25 to Dec. 26 due to a serious medical emergency.
Though not confirming who was on board, a spokesman for Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation told AFP: “The emergency landing clearance was given by the Swiss air force.”
Night landings and takeoffs are typically forbidden at Zurich-Kloten to avoid disturbing local residents.
Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Georg Farago told AFP that the federation was informed about the “stay of members of Qatar’s royal family in Switzerland,” without elaborating.
Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported that an Airbus aircraft arrived at the Zurich airport from Marrakech shortly after midnight on Dec. 26, during the flight curfew.
It was followed several hours later by two aircraft from Doha, with the first landing at 5am and the second just 15 minutes later.
These were joined over the weekend by six more aircraft connected to the government, the newspaper added.
Sheikh Hamad served as Emir of Qatar for 18 years, from 1995 until he handed power over to his fourth son Sheikh Tamim in June 2013.
Since yesterday, heads of state from around the region have been sending their well wishes to the Father Emir.
Kuwait’s Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, as well as the crown prince/deputy amir and the prime minister sent messages of support following Sheikh Hamad’s surgery, state agency Kuna reported.
The Emir also received a telephone call from King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Sunday to discuss “issues of common concern,” QNA reported without giving further detail.
News of the Father Emir’s injury has also prompted a flurry of messages from Qatar residents, who have been wishing Sheikh Hamad a speedy recovery under the hashtag #الامير_الوالد (The Father Emir):
Translation: “We are grateful to God for the safety of our father, his Highness Sheikh Hamad. We ask God to bestow blessings and health upon him.”
Translation: “If you suffer a fracture, our necks (lives) will serve as healing for you. Our health is a (cheap) sacrifice for yours. May God look after him.”
Translation: “May God protect the leader of your path and the father of all, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. May God clothe him with good health and strength.”
Translation: “A thousand thousand thanks to God for your safety, my lord and crown over my head. May evil always escape you. Prayers for full recovery and strong health. May God protect you and prolong your life.”