Saudi's King Is Dead, New Ruler Sworn In
Saudi Arabia's King is dead, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died early today January 23, 2015, Friday ,as announced by the Saudi Authorities, his death comes several weeks after the state-run Saudi Press Agency said he was suffering from pneumonia and had been admitted to the hospital. He was 90.
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Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz has been appointed as the new king according to state television reports.
Throngs of mourners according to CNN gathered in Mecca early on Friday just hours after the king’s death was announced.
King Abdullah, has been a powerful U.S. ally who fought against al-Qaida and sought to modernize the Muslim kingdom, by opening greater opportunities for women.
Abdullah was born in Riyadh in 1924, one of the many sons of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Like all Abdul-Aziz's sons, Abdullah had only rudimentary education. Tall and heavyset, he felt more at home in the Nejd, the kingdom's desert heartland, riding stallions and hunting with falcons.
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Abdullah was selected as crown prince in 1982 on the day his half-brother Fahd ascended to the throne. The decision was challenged by a full brother of Fahd, Prince Sultan, who wanted the title for himself. But the family eventually closed ranks behind Abdullah to prevent splits.
King Abdullah became king of the oil-rich nation, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, in August 2005. But he had been running Saudi Arabia since 1996, after his half-brother King Fahd's stroke.
Other world rulers as well as President Barack Obama have expressed condolences and offered sympathy to the people of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is a strict Muslim Kingdom which traces its roots back to the earliest civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the centuries, the peninsula has played an important role in history as an ancient trade center and as the birthplace of Islam, one of the world’s major monotheistic religions.