Pope Francis returns to Vatican after surgery in Rome hospital

VATICAN CITY, July 14 (Reuters) – Pope Francis returned to the Vatican on Wednesday, 11 days after surgery at a hospital in Rome to remove part of his colon.

A Reuters witness saw the Pope get out of a car after it entered the Vatican gates.

Earlier, photographers at Gemelli Hospital saw two cars escorted by Vatican security forces exit a side entrance shortly before 11am (0900 GMT) after staff put a wheelchair in the trunk of one of the vehicles.

The first of the two cars had blacked out windows.

The 84-year-old pope had part of his colon removed on July 4. On Sunday, he made his first public appearance since surgery, standing for about 10 minutes as he spoke from the balcony of his suite.

The Vatican released five photos of the Pope on Tuesday afternoon during a visit to the pediatric cancer ward on the same floor as his suite earlier in the day.

They showed the Pope appeared to be in good shape as he walked unassisted down the corridor of the ward, greeting children, parents and doctors. In photos released Sunday, he used a wheelchair when visiting patients.

Francis has no obligations for the rest of the month other than his Sunday blessing, although the Vatican is planning a papal trip to Slovakia and the Hungarian capital Budapest in mid-September.

The Scottish bishops announced on Monday that the Pope will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, health permitting. He is also expected to visit Malta and Cyprus later that month.

Reporting by Philip Pullella and Cristiano Corvino; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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