Moroccan king undergoes heart surgery in France

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RABAT, Morocco (AP) — King Mohammed VI of Morocco underwent a medical operation Monday in France for an irregular heartbeat, according to a statement from his personal doctor and a French-Moroccan medical team.

The 54-year-old king sought medical attention Saturday for heart rhythm problems, and underwent examinations at the Ambroise Pare Clinic near Paris that revealed an atrial flutter, the statement said. An atrial flutter is a non-life-threatening condition in which the heart beats less efficiently.

The six-doctor team successfully performed a radiofrequency ablation, according to the statement, carried by the state news agency MAP. The procedure applies energy to the area to destroy tissue linked to the irregular heartbeat.

The king will take a "rest period" before returning to his normal activities, the statement said, without indicating how long.

Mohammed VI is a frequent visitor to France, where he had eye surgery last year. He has not been publicly known to have heart problems.

The king took power at age 35 from his long-serving father Hassan II, who died of a heart attack in 1999. Mohammed has presided over reforms meant to open up politics, notably after Arab Spring protests shook the region, though ultimate power still rests with the king. Under his watch Morocco has also been closely allied with the U.S. in its fight against terrorism, and has spread its economic footprint around Africa.

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