Saudi Arabia’s King Is Dead

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi King has died in Riyadh hospital after suffering from a lung infection. He was aged 90.

Abdullah, the force behind the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC and a U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, came to power in 2005 after his half-brother King Fahd died.

His 79-year-old half brother, Salman, has become king.

President Obama said in a statement, “it was with deep respect that I express my personal condolences and the sympathies of the American people to the king’s family and all Saudis.”

He noted that the king’s life “spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations. He took bold steps in advancing the Arab Peace Initiative, an endeavor that will outlive him as an enduring contribution to the search for peace in the region.”

Also, John Kerry, US Secretary of the State said the United States had “lost a friend” with Abdullah’s death. He commended the king for investing in Saudi Arabia’s people, infrastructure and economic development.

“Even as he battled age and illness, he held on to his sense of determination. He was so proud of the Kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace,” Kerry said.

Services will be held Friday afternoon at the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque in Riyadh, and many world leaders are likely to pay their respects.

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