Saudi king to undergo operation: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 11, 2011 5:04 PM
Saudi king to undergo operation: report

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi King Abdullah, who underwent surgery last year for back-related problems, will undergo an operation in the coming days, Saudi Arabia's state news agency reported on Tuesday.

The health of the ruler of the world's leading oil exporter is of keen interest, given his age -- thought to be 88 -- and the concentration of power among Saudi Arabia's ruling royal family.

"In continuation of the scheduled medical follow up of King Abdullah, the king will undergo an operation in the coming days in Riyadh," news agency SPA reported, citing a statement from the royal court.

Details of the planned operation were not disclosed.

King Abdullah was absent for three months late in 2010 while he underwent treatment for a herniated disc that caused blood to accumulate around his spine. He underwent surgery in New York and convalesced in Morocco, leaving his brother Crown Prince Sultan in charge.

Last month, the king unveiled greater representation for women in Saudi Arabia, granting them the right to vote and stand in local elections. Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive and require a male relative's permission to work or leave the country.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif)