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King Fahd of Saudi Arabia dies | Jad Thoughts: "King Fahd, Saudi Arabia's ruler since 1982, has died.

Saudi state television announced that Crown Prince Abdullah had been named as King Fahd's successor.

King Fahd had been frail since suffering a stroke a decade ago and had delegated the running of the kingdom's affairs to Crown Prince Abdullah.

Defence Minister Prince Sultan is next in line to the throne after Abdullah, and was named crown prince, state television announced.

Members of the royal family have already pledged allegiance to Abdullah. An official ceremony confirming him as the new king is due to be held on Wednesday.

'Sorrow and sadness'

'With all sorrow and sadness, the royal court in the name of his highness Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and all members of the family announces the death of the servant of the two holy mosques, King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz,' Minister of Information Iyad bin Amin Madani announced on state television.

'He died after suffering an illness. God now allows the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Fahd, with great mercy and forgiveness, to reside in his wide heaven.'

The Associated Press news agency says the king died early on Monday at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the capital, Riyadh, where he was admitted on 27 May for unspecified medical tests.

Absolute monarch

King Fahd ascended the throne in 1982 after seven years as crown prince, making him absolute monarch of the world's largest oil-producing country and home of Islam's two holiest sites, the mosques at Mecca and Medina.

He threw the weight of the kingdom behind Arab causes and was heavily involved in regional issues such as the search for a peaceful settlement to the Lebanese civil war which ended with an agreement signed in the kingdom.

The monarch's decision in 1990 to invite American forces into Saudi Arabia after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was heavily criticised within the country.

Many say it contributed to the rise of al-Qaeda whose "
[tags]king, fahd, saudi, arabia, die[/tags]

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