Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has been admitted to the National Guard Hospital, Riyadh, the statement said Wednesday, according to a statement from the royal court cited by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
It gave no further details of his health status. According to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Abdullah, 90, was born in Riyadh in 1924.
He was named crown prince, or heir to the throne, in 1982 and succeeded King Fahd, his half-brother, on his death in 2005. He had in effect been running the country since Fahd had a stroke in 1996 and in nearly a decade of ruling on behalf of his brother, he began opening the door to reform.
Since ascending to the throne, he has taken steps toward broader freedoms and has invested some of the country’s vast oil wealth in large-scale education and infrastructure projects. However, resistance from conservative factions has hindered some of his efforts, leaving many women in particular disappointed by a lack of progress toward greater independence.
Under Abdulaziz’s leadership, the country has, though, slowly squashed al Qaeda, capturing or killing its leaders in the
Kingdom, forcing the remnants underground and keeping at bay radical preachers. It has also taken a more prominent role in international affairs and is a key United States of America, U.S. ally in the region. Earlier this year, it became the lead Arab nation in a U.S.-led coalition to eradicate the ultra-radical ISIS group in Iraq and Syria.