Late Kin Abdullah(right) New King Salman (left)
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz - the powerful U.S. ally has died aged 90.The royal had been in the hospital since December, battling pneumonia.Abdullah will be buried today following Muslim tradition that a burial should take place within 24 hours of death.
King Abdullah's half-brother Salman, 79, has become king.A statement released by the new king read:
'His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1am this morning.'
New King Salman has been crown prince and defense minister since 2012. He was governor ofRiyadh province for five decades before that.Salman bin Abdulaziz, who was named crown prince in June 2012, was Abdullah’s third heir to the throne after two elder brothers died in late 2011 and mid-2012. As the new King of Saudi Arabia, home to 28 million people, he will also serve as Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
But the 79-year-old has reportedly been in poor health in recent years, and is perhaps unlikely to rule for as long as his elder sibling.King Salman’s crown prince will be his younger brother Prince Muqrin, the youngest surviving son of King Abdulaziz