Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, 86, has been hospitalized

The Saudi king is hospitalized

The elder king has ceded most power to his fiery son Mohammed Bin Salman (Image: Reuters)

Speculation about the health of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has mounted after he was hospitalized just weeks after undergoing surgery to change his pacemaker battery.

Officials said the 86-year-old was being “medically examined” but declined to give details of his condition.

The monarch has absolute power over the kingdom, although he has handed control of day-to-day affairs to his 36-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman.

A statement from court officials said: “May God preserve the keeper of the two holy mosques and may he enjoy his health and well-being.”

It is rare for the mysterious royal court to report on the health of the king or his family.

Although he announced that he was changing his pacemaker battery in March, no official confirmation of heart disease has ever been issued.

The only other information the court released related to other unnamed “medical tests” that were said to have been “successful.”

Speculations about King Salman’s health first surfaced in 2017 when widespread reports he was plotting to abdicate the throne in favor of Crown Prince Mohammed, which officials dismissed.


Crown Prince Mohammed is poised to assume absolute power once his father dies (Image: AFP)

In 2020, after a long stay in the hospital, he had to undergo surgery to remove his gallbladder.

At his most recent publicly photographed meeting, a summit with Turkish President Recep Erdogan at the end of April, the king appeared to be in good spirits.

Mr Erdogan later met with Crown Prince Mohammed, who has implemented drastic reforms and cracked down on dissenters since he effectively took power.

The meetings were the first between Turkish and Saudi leaders after four years of enmity sparked by the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose body was dismembered and dissolved in acid at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 2, 2020, friends of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold placards with his picture while attending an event marking the second anniversary of his assassination outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. - A Turkish court on April 7, 2022 confirmed the stay of the trial in the absence of 26 suspects in connection with the assassination of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi and his transfer to Riyadh, a decision that has angered rights groups. The 59-year-old journalist was killed on October 2, 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a gruesome murder that shocked the world. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia has admitted responsibility for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi (Image: AFP)

Mr Khashoggi had fled to Turkey after writing newspaper articles criticizing King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed.

After changing its story several times, Saudi Arabia finally admitted that its officials planned the killing and jailed a number of unnamed officials.

Mohammed Bin Salman denied any prior knowledge of the plot, although the CIA said it had confirmed that the prince personally ordered his spies to kill the journalist.

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Justin Scacco

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