King Salman: Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler admitted to hospital

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has been admitted to hospital suffering from inflammation of the gall bladder, according to state media.

The 84-year-old, who has ruled the country since 2015, is undergoing medical checks at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the capital Riyadh, news agency SPA reported on Monday, giving no further details.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi postponed a planned visit to Saudi Arabia in response, the foreign ministry said.

Before becoming ruler of the world’s largest oil exporter and custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, King Salman spent more than two years as the Saudi crown prince and deputy premier.

The de facto ruler and next in line to the throne is the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The 34-year-old is popular among many young Saudis for reforming the conservative Muslim kingdom and seeking to end its “addiction” to oil.

He has won praise for easing social restrictions and supporting women’s rights. But state control of the media and a crackdown on dissent make it difficult to gauge the extent of domestic enthusiasm.

The crown prince’s reforms have also seen a purge of corruption charges against top royals and businessmen as well as a costly war in Yemen.

He has also drawn criticism over the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In March, two members of the Saudi royal family were reportedly arrested for allegedly plotting to oust King Salman and the crown prince.

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