Saudi king salman has been hospitalized for a gall bladder inflammation. The 84-year-old had to undergo medical examinations because of the illness, the state agency SPA reported, citing the royal court.
He was treated in riyadh at the king faisal hospital, which is considered one of the best in the country. There is constant speculation about the monarch’s state of health. In march there were media reports about arrests in the royal family. These have led to rumors that crown prince mohammed bin salman is trying to eliminate possible rivals for the throne because his father is dead or dying. The crown prince is already the de facto ruler of the country and is expected to succeed king salman on the throne upon his death.
King salman rarely appears in public anymore. In mid march, he gave a short televised speech in which he described the fight against the corona virus as a "difficult phase" for saudi arabia. The country is home to some 251.000 infections reported in the arab world hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
King salman ascended to the throne in january 2015 as successor to his late half-brother abdullah. He is one of the last living sons of state founder ibn saud. In a surprising move, he ousted his nephew mohammed bin naif in the summer of 2017 and named crown prince mohammed heir to the throne.
34-year-old crown prince mohammed is considered the driving force behind the partial social opening of the archconservative kingdom and the attempt to make the saudi economy less dependent on oil. At the same time, he persecutes critics and opposition members with all his might. He is also suspected of being involved in the murder of anti-government journalist jamal khashoggi at the saudi consulate general in istanbul in october 2018.
Iraq’s new prime minister mustafa al-kasimi canceled his first state visit to saudi arabia because of the king’s illness. "I wish king salman a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him as soon as possible," al-kasimi wrote on twitter. The kingdom appreciates this decision of the iraqi head of government, said saudi arabian minister faisal bin farhan al-saud.