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Saudis deny report King Abdullah is clinically dead

Special to WorldTribune.com

ABU DHABI — Saudi Arabia has been awash with rumors regarding the
fate of its elderly king.

Arab diplomatic sources said the Gulf Cooperation Council kingdom was
battling rumors that King Abdullah was dying. They said
Abdullah, believed to be more than 95 and hospitalized since Nov. 16, was
struggling after another round of spinal surgery.

Saudi King Abdullah attends the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca on Aug. 14.

“Abdullah has not been seen after the operation by anybody but his sons, and this has sparked concern,” a diplomat said.

One rumor, linked to the Saudi-owned A-Sharq Al Awsat, asserted that the king was clinically dead. The rumor, attributed to an unidentified reporter of A-Sharq Al Awsat and published on a Jordanian website, said Abdullah’s vital organs have not been functioning for nearly two weeks, setting the stage for what could be a violent succession struggle. The Saudi Royal Office denied the report.

“The fate of the king will be decided over the next three to four days,”
the Jordanian website said.

On Nov. 26, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz issued a statement that sought to reassure Saudis that the king’s condition was stable. At a Cabinet session, Salman, however, prayed for Abdullah’s health.

“The crown prince prayed to Allah Almighty to grant the king good
health,” a government statement said.

The official Saudi Press Agency said Abdullah was being treated at a
hospital operated by the National Guard. The agency said the crown prince,
also believed to be in poor health, met the sons of Abdullah, including
National Guard commander Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, but was not reported to
have seen the king.

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